The death of Assam’s Tinsukia based journalist Parag Bhuyan has hit UNESCO. The director-general of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, has called on the Indian authorities to clarify the circumstances surrounding the death of Bhuyan.
Bhuyan was fatally injured on November 11 in a hit and run car accident in Kakopathar, in his neighbourhood. The driver who hit the journalist was arrested on the day following the incident.
“I deplore the death of Parag Bhuyan. I trust that the Indian authorities will ensure a timely investigation to shed light on the circumstances of Parag Bhuyan’s death. No effort should be spared to enable journalists to exercise their profession safety, without let or hindrance,” Audrey Azoulay said.
In his work, Parag Bhuyan, an experienced journalist of the Pratidin Time group, specialized in issues relating to corruption and local crime.
UNESCO promotes the safety of journalists through global awareness-raising, capacity building and a range of actions, notably in the framework of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
Assam has witnessed several cases of attack on the journalists over the years.
Recently, Milan Mahanta, a journalist with Asomiya Pratidin newspaper was tied to a pole and beaten up by goons for reporting on illegal gambling.
The Editors Guild of India (EGI) also wrote to Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal expressing concern over growing incidents of violence against journalists in the state, recently.
“Journalists in Assam have been subjected to mob attacks, intimidation and threats, which is vitiating the environment necessary for the functioning of an independent and vibrant media,” the EGI said in a letter to Sonowal.
“The Editors Guild of India writes to you with deep concern about the growing incidence of violence against journalists in Assam. While we appreciate your firm condemnation of these incidents, the situation demands your urgent intervention,” it added.
The EGI sought the chief minister’s intervention to assure the media that they are safe to report without fearing retribution from criminals and, in the absence of that, a sense of impunity could embolden attackers who may believe that they are above the law.