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Media attacked during general strike in India's Assam state

(IFJ/IFEX) - August 30, 2012 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly condemns the attacks on newspersons on professional assignment during a day-long general strike called on August 28 by a youth-led political organisation in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam.

According to reports received from the Journalists' Union of Assam (JUA), a constituent unit of the IFJ-affiliate, the Indian Journalists' Union, a number of journalists were the victims of planned and targeted attacks that day.

Amulya Kumar Nath, correspondent for TV channel Newslive in Goalpara district in the western part of Assam, was attacked and his camera snatched. He was subsequently admitted to the local government hospital. Two other journalists, Jayanta Kumar Das of Prime News and Raju Sahu of the DY 365 TV channel, were attacked at Barpeta Road and their motorcycles and cameras damaged.

Dibyajyoti Nath, Ankur Das, Sourav Borkotoki and Amarjyoti Talukdar - all Tezpur based journalists - were invited to the Bhojkhowa area to cover the general strike by its sponsors. Once they arrived there, they were assaulted by these same persons.

Aside from these instances, Joyjyoti Gogoi, a reporter for Newslive in Sivsagar district, was badly injured when police used batons to control a protesting crowd.

The IFJ calls on the authorities to promptly identify those responsible for these acts of violence and take appropriate action. These attacks violate the basic norm of free movement of media personnel, even on days of a general strike since the public have the right to be informed reliably about the day's events.

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