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TV journalist investigating Vyapam scam dies on assignment in India

Indian journalists hold candles and photographs of Akshay Singh during a memorial meeting in Bangalore, India, on 6 July 2015
Indian journalists hold candles and photographs of Akshay Singh during a memorial meeting in Bangalore, India, on 6 July 2015

AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi

This statement was originally published on ifj.org on 6 July 2015.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists – India (NUJI) in expressing concerns for the recent death of a television journalist while on assignment on Sunday, July 5, 2015. The IFJ and NUJI call for an immediate investigation into the suspicious death of the journalist.

Akshay Singh, a special correspondent of Aaj Tak, a Hindi news channel of TV Today Group, was interviewing the family of a medical student in Meghnagar, Madhya Pradesh, who died under mysterious circumstances in 2012, when he fell unconscious and died.

Singh was interviewing the family as part of an investigation of the Vyapam Scam, one of the biggest recruitment scams in India over the past decade. The Vyapam Scam, which has seen over with 2,000 arrests and 45 dozens mysterious deaths, involved the bribing of government officials and politicians associated with the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB). The MPPEB or Vyapam in India is responsible for entrance examinations for government jobs and education institutions.

Prasanna Mohanty, the Secretary General of NUJI, said in a statement: "The NUJ demands immediate judicial enquiry of the incident to reveal the truth about the mysterious death."

The NUJI has also reiterated its demands to enact Journalist Protection Act in the wake of an increased number of attacks against journalists.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) also demanded an investigation into Singh's death saying that his sudden death cannot be isolated from other deaths of witnesses, accused and others connected to the scam.

The DUJ said: "The TV Today Group should provide adequate compensation for Singh's mother and sister, who are dependent on his earnings."

The IFJ, the NUJI and the DUJ express condolence to Singh's family and colleagues.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
What other IFEX members are saying
  • India should conduct thorough investigation into journalist's death

    "The Indian government should do its utmost to investigate the death of journalist Akshay Singh in a credible and thorough manner," said CPJ Asia Research Associate Sumit Galhotra. "Given the recent spike in the number of journalist deaths in the country, authorities should dedicate their efforts to solving these cases and delivering justice where due."

  • Indian journalist investigating scam dies mysteriously

    “That this is not an isolated death is clear from the fact that over 40 persons connected with the scam as witnesses or accused have died in mysterious circumstances,” IPI Executive Board Member Narasimhan Ravi said. “It points to insidious forces at work.”

  • IFJ & IJU demand action as fourth journalist killed in three months in India

    Sanjay Pathak is the fourth journalist to be murdered in India this year in a three month period and the second in the Uttar Pradesh.



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