Mid Day journalist killing – JFA demands high level probe

Mid Day Journalist Joy Dey

By- Nava Thakuria | Date- June 17, 2011 | Place- Guwahati

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With the increasing voice for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the killing of Mumbai based journalist Joy Dey, the Journalists’  Forum Assam (JFA) has also joined in the chorus for a high-level enquiry into the incident. Condemning the murder of the Mid-Day journalist, JFA argues that Dey, 56, might have been targeted by the mafia, as he exposed many stories about the underworld in his illustrious career. Mentioning about Assam, where the authority makes it a habit to forget about the pending cases of assassination of editor-journalist-correspondents, the JFA in a press statement asserts that the culprits must be punished without delay.

The courageous investigative journalist of Mid-Day, who used to cover organized crime of the underworld for more than two decades, was gunned down, as he was returning home, by four men on motorcycles in the north Mumbai suburb of Powai in the afternoon of June 11. Dey was associated with various newspapers including The Indian Express and Hindustan Times before joining the Mumbai based evening daily.

‘Joy Dey was one of the pillars of the Mid-Day newsroom for the last four years, and as one of the senior most investigative journalists in the country, was an invaluable asset to the newspaper. He brought depth to our investigative reporting, and he conducted his journalism with honesty and integrity,’ said in an immediate statement of Mid-Day newspaper.

‘The Mid-Day family condemns the murder of Joy Dey, Editor (Crime and Investigations) in Mumbai on Saturday, June 11, 2011,’ stated in the announcement by Sachin Kalbag, the executive editor of the English daily adding that the killing of Joy Dey is ‘not only a loss to Mid-Day, but to the media fraternity in general’.

The Editors Guild of India has urged the Maharashtra government to take immediate steps to bring Dey’s killers to justice. In a statement signed by Guild president T N Ninan and secretary Coomi Kapoor, the editor’s forum ‘deplores the law enforcement agencies’ inability to protect the life of a journalist engaged in carrying out his professional duties at great risk to himself’. Reporters Without Borders, the Paris based media rights body also condemned the murder of Dey. It argues that the ‘recent incidents and acts of violence involving journalists point to a deterioration in the ability of media personnel to operate freely in India’.

‘We remind the Indian government of the importance of the media’s role in a democracy, and its duty to ensure protection and justice for all journalists. Dey’s reporting was in the public interest and his death must not go unpunished,’ asserted the rights body in a statement.

It concluded by offering condolences to Dey’s widow (who is also a journalist), other family members and colleagues, and also urged the authorities ‘to conduct a thorough investigation into his murder, which has all the hallmarks of a premeditated execution’.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an international media rights body has disclosed few weeks back that 864 working journalists around the world have been killed in different incidents since 1992. The New York-based media rights body also revealed that India is among the 13 risky countries where governments are unable or unwilling to prosecute the killers. Other nations, where journalists are targeted regularly for deaths and governments fail to solve the crimes include Iraq (unsolved cases: 93), Philippines (64), Algeria (57), Colombia (35), Russia (29), Pakistan (20), Mexico (20), Somalia (18), Rwanda(15), Tajikistan (14), Turkey (14), Brazil (13), Sri Lanka (10), Sierra Leone(9), Afghanistan (9), Bangladesh (8), Angola (7), Cambodia (7) Peru (6) etc.

The JFA reiterated its demand for justice to the families of 22 editor-journalist-correspondents of Assam, who were targeted for their life in separate incidents since 1987. Signed by its president Rupam Barua, the JFA statement expressed its dismay that not a single perpetrator of all these killings is punished till date.

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