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Call for action in India after gang rape of journalist

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the All India Newspaper Employees Federation (AINEF) are deeply concerned by the latest incident of a reported gang rape of a journalist in India on Thursday, March 28, 2014.

According to reports, a 27-year-old journalist on assignment was allegedly gang-raped by two people in Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh, Northern India. The journalist had gone to Asthabhuja temple to research her story on historic temples in the Vindhyachal region and was returning to her hotel late in the evening when she was abducted, taken to an isolated place, raped by the two assailants and later dumped in a forest area.

The female journalist associated with a Hindi newspaper in Uttarakhand lodged a complaint with the police on Friday, March 29. The police have arrested one of the accused and are investigating the case.

The shocking incident came a week after an Indian court found four persons guilty of gang rape of a 23-year-old photojournalist in Mumbai last year. They were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The IFJ and the AINEF are demanding a thorough investigation so that the rapists are brought to justice quickly.

"The Government should take strong action against the culprits who involved in this heinous crime," CH Purnachandra Rao, Vice President of the AINEF said in a statement. "We are concerned that the atrocities, harassments, and gang rapes are increasing day by day on women journalists, and some of the state governments are silent spectators. We demand that the government come forward with security plans to curb such type of heinous crime against women journalists."

This horrific case follows a concerning pattern of incidents in India's media bringing heightened public awareness about rising cases of sexual violence generally across the country.

The IFJ said: "The culture of sexual harassment and threat in India continues to endanger women journalists both in the newsroom and out in the field. Gender equity and safety is intrinsic to press freedom and freedom of expression and as long as women journalists' lives are threatened, there can be no true freedom of the media."

The IFJ endorses the actions of its Indian affiliates in taking a strict and absolute no tolerance stance against harassment and sexual violence against women journalists in India. That means ensuring the safest possible working conditions for female media workers as they go about their daily duties; campaigns on gender equity and education on sexual harassment; and an independent and robust process for complaints that adequately takes into consideration the need for confidentiality for victims.

What other IFEX members are saying

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