London, July 4: India may slip further from its current 138th place in the World Press Freedom Index as four journalists were murdered in less than six months amidst a sharp rise in hate speech, a global media watchdog warned on Wednesday in its first report on the country.
The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said it had come out with a report exclusively on India in view of the “increase in breaches of press freedom” in India in the past six months.
In the 2018 Index, published in April this year, India was ranked at the 138th position out of 180 countries, two places lower than in 2017, and the situation has continued to deteriorate.
“As a result, the Abuses and Environment indicators, which contribute to the country’s evaluation for the Index, show a negative trend and point to another decline in its ranking in the 2019 edition unless the authorities take steps to rectify the situation,” it said.
On July 3, RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi telling him that the first Incident Report had been issued in relation to press freedom in the country, the media watchdog said in a statement.
“In the first six months of 2018, at least as many reporters were killed as for the whole of 2017, while hate speech directed toward journalists has increased massively, causing serious concern for their safety,” the letter noted.
The recent killings of the journalists took place amidst a sharp rise in hate speech.
On June 14, Shujaat Bukhari, editor of the renowned Kashmir-based newspaper ‘Rising Kashmir’, was shot dead as he left his office in Srinagar.
Sandeep Sharma, who had been investigating illegal sand mining, was crushed to death by a garbage truck in Madhya Pradesh on March 26.
A day earlier, two other journalists, Navin Nischal and Vijay Singh, subeditors with the daily ‘Dainik Bhaskar’, were deliberately run over and killed by an SUV in Bihar, the statement said.
This kind of intimidation, which affects journalists expressing even the mildest criticism of the current government, creates a harsh climate of self-censorship and even propaganda, it said.
The RSF said it was introducing the ‘Incident Report’ procedure for cases where it has observed a deterioration in one or more of the indicators used to determine the positions of the 180 countries ranked in the World Press Freedom Index.
The RSF is an international non-profit, non-governmental organisation that promotes and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press.
I-League 2018-19: Pressure on Mohun Bagan, not us: David Robertson
Srinagar, Nov 19: Mohun Bagan have travelled north to take on I-League 2nd Division champions Real Kashmir FC at the TRC Turf Ground in Srinagar on Tuesday.
The Mariners have had a shaky start to their league campaign as they have drawn twice and won just once to sit fifth on the league table. Their only win came against Indian Arrows who are a developmental side bereft of foreign signings.
Bagan will be tested to their limits when they take on Real Kashmir away from home as they have traditionally struggled to perform well in the highlands.
Coach Sankar Lal Chakraborty is concerned more about his opponents than the foreign weather conditions that await them on Tuesday afternoon.
“We have travelled a day before to adjust to the weather and the synthetic turf. But I think to face team Real Kashmir is a tougher challenge (than adjusting to conditions). It is bad luck that they lost their last match as they had five-six clear chances on goal. They have built a good combination. They are a good team with two strong centre-backs. Their wing play has been brilliant.
“And as far as weather conditions are concerned we did train in the afternoon yesterday. We were not uncomfortable. After warming up the body responded well and the players had a good session,” said the coach.
The TRC Ground has an artificial turf which is further going to complicate matters for Mohun Bagan.
“Across the world, synthetic turfs are not in use anymore. But in hilly areas, you have to adjust to it even if you like it or don’t like it. Players are also upbeat to win this game irrespective of the conditions and turf,” reasoned the coach.
Real Kashmir FC head coach David Robertson made it clear that his team will play to enjoy the match and the onus will be on the Kolkata-giants to eke out a positive result.
“There is no pressure on us. We are playing a club which is more than 120 years old and it is an honour for us that Mohun Bagan has come here to play against us. I have played in big clubs and the pressure is always on the big clubs to get a positive result.
“Coming here, nothing less than a win for them would be satisfactory. We will just enjoy the event. Although we managed to get just a point from the previous two matches I think we played well enough. It was our first defeat after a year and we played great football. Teams coming here find it difficult because of the altitude and unless you are here five-six days here before the game it is going to be very difficult in the last 20 mins of the game,” stated the Scottish tactician.
But his team has been wasteful in the attacking third which cost them dearly against NEROCA. Robertson emphasised that he has been working on the end product and he hopes that his team will be able to put up a better display against Mohun Bagan.
“The good thing is that we have been creating chances. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take them in the previous match but we have been working on our finishing. Against a good team like Bagan chances will obviously be less but we have to make the most of it.
“If you look at all the teams, except Chennai, everyone has had a slow start. We beat the defending champions in the first game. It is very very early. At some point, Mohun Bagan will click and push on but hopefully not tomorrow. ”
The home matches of Real Kashmir has seen an exceptional turnout and the coach heaped praise on the 12th man as he thinks that they would play an important role in Tuesday’s match.
“The support has been outstanding for us. Kashmiris enjoy football and they are coming out in numbers which actually gives us an edge. I still remember that we were losing a game 2-1 at half-time but we came back and won it 3-2 in extra time because of the way they spurred us on. Obviously, we don’t have the history of such Kolkata clubs but again since we are in I-League the people will support for Real Kashmir. It just adds pressure on the away team,” concluded the coach.
Joint Hurriyat calls for shutdown in poll-bound areas
Srinagar, Nov 19: Joint Hurriyat Leadership on Monday appealed for a complete shutdown in areas going to polls in the second phase of Panchayat elections on Tuesday.
In a statement, the leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik asked people to observe a complete protest shutdown in Kalaroos, Machil, Rajwar,Ganstan, Nowgam,Sangrama, Wagoora, Kangan, Rathsun, Bijbehara areas going to polls in the second phase of “sham” panchayat elections “thrust on them by the authoritarian state.”
The Joint Hurriyat asked the people to “demonstrate their total rejection and disregard of this futile exercise by staying away and boycotting it completely.”
Governor, Admn mourns demise of Khandey
Jammu, Nov 19: Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed grief over the sad demise of Sh. Mohammad Iqbal Khandey, former J&K Chief Secretary who passed away in Srinagar this morning.
Governor in his condolence message described him as an able administrator who worked with dedication for public welfare.
Governor prayed for peace to the departed soul and strength to the bereaved family in its hour of grief.
A condolence meeting was convened in the Civil Secretariat here today to mourn the demise of Mohammad Iqbal Khandey, former J&K Chief Secretary, who passed away in Srinagar this morning.
Advisor to Governor, K Vijay Kumar, Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam, Administrative Secretaries and other senior officers attended the condolence meeting.
Advisor Kumar remembered Iqbal Khandey for his administrative acumen and dynamism. “Our heart goes out to the family members of Iqbal KhandeySahab, who in the later part of his life went through a personal tragedy of losing his son to an unfortunate road accident” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Secretary said that Iqbal Khandey has made an everlasting and indelible impression on the State Administration. “His prompt decision-making, decisiveness in resolution of issues, clinical commentary on the files and immaculate get-up have been the hallmark of his service career” Chief Secretary observed.
“On my own behalf and on behalf of my colleagues, I express heartfelt condolences to the family. We pray for the departed soul and strength to the family to bear this irreparable loss,” Chief Secretary said in his condolence message.
A direct recruit IAS officer of 1978 batch, Iqbal Khandey was born on 15.11.1955. He had the distinction of having served on various key and pivotal positions before being appointed as Chief Secretary in February, 2013. The noteworthy positions held by the late officer during his illustrious, immaculate and unparalleled service career include DC Doda, Director School Education Kashmir, Secretary to Chief Minister, Director Tourism, Chairman SSB, Administrative Secretary of the Departments of Health, ARI, Home, Science & Technology, PW(R&B), Planning, Forest, Finance, Agriculture Production, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister and Director General, IMPA.
The meeting observed that Iqbal Khandey would be remembered for his prompt decision making and artistic abilities for evolving solutions to ticklish issues. He was full of compassion and belongingness for the people of the State in particular to those belonging to downtrodden communities. With his demise, the State has lost an able and gifted administrator, thereby creating a void which would be difficult to fill. He would truly go as one of the ablest administrators in the history books of the State.
On this occasion, two-minute silence was observed to pay respects to the departed soul and pray for his eternal peace.
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