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Journalists attacked, injured in Malkangiri district while covering police event

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ media release:

IFJ Condemns Police Assault on Journalists in India

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed to learn of an attack on journalists by police personnel in Malkangiri district in the Indian state of Orissa, site of the most recent incident of violence involving a long-running Maoist insurgency.

On July 17, according to information received from IFJ affiliates in India, police personnel conducting a guard of honour for colleagues killed the previous day in a Maoist landmine attack, began an unprovoked attack on journalists gathered to cover the event.

The General Secretary of the Indian Journalists' Union (IJU), K. Sreenivas Reddy, informed the IFJ that the police seemed to target journalists from other states. Cameras were snatched and damaged while vehicles were ransacked.

It is customary for news organisations to assign journalists from neighbouring states to cover events in Malkangiri, both because the district is near a three-way junction of state boundaries and because the Maoist insurgency is a problem common to all three states.

Prasanna Mohanty, Vice President of the National Union of Journalists of India (NUJI), said that Anil Reddy, a reporter with the news channel TV9, based in Bhadrachalam in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh, was seriously injured in the incident. Shaikh Maqbool, a reporter with the Hindi daily Nai Duniya, based in Dantewada in Chattisgarh state, was also hurt, as was M.V. Chari, a reporter with the Telugu language daily, Vishal Andhra.

The three journalists are receiving treatment at a hospital in the district headquarters town of Malkangiri.

The IFJ strongly endorses its affiliates' letters of protest which have been lodged with the chief minister of Orissa.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 122 countries.

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