Journalists working under fear in Bihar

November 26th, 2008 - 2:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Nov 26 (IANS) The killing of a journalist by unidentified armed men in a Bihar town has struck fear in the hearts of mediapersons in the state who feel that they can easily be targeted by the criminals and corrupt officials they report against.”Journalists across state work with a constant sense of fear. This is the big reason why a lot of corruption and government mismanagement has failed to come up in media reports,” Anand S.T. Das, senior correspondent of Tehelka, said.

“I don’t feel safe at all. I have been highlighting issues of corruption and writing against those in power so I know I am on their hit list,” a journalist working with a national English daily said on condition of anonymity.

Vikash Ranjan, a reporter with Hindi daily Dainik Hindustan, was shot dead Tuesday evening in Rosera town in Samastipur district, about 125 km from here.

Ranjan was killed a day after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar claimed in his report card on completion of three years in office that the government led by him had established the rule of law in the state.

“It shocked us, he was a fearless journalist who was exposing the nexus of criminals and politicians,” Amit Kumar, a reporter with Hindi magazine Taapmaan, said.

“Vikash Ranjan died on the spot after he was shot,” a police official said.

According to sources close to the family of the deceased, he had informed the Samastipur superintendent of police about the threats he had received in the last 10 days.

Nitish Kumar has directed state police chief D.N. Gautam to nab the culprits and initiate a speedy trial. Four police teams have also been formed to conduct raids on possible hideouts of the criminals involved, police sources said.

Last year, legislator Anant Singh and his supporters had beaten up two journalists who had come to interview him and then attacked several more media persons when they protested against the first attack.

Singh is a criminal turned politician, known as “Chhote Sarkar” in the area. In 2004, he had brandished an AK-47 rifle in public, although private possession of the assault rifle is illegal.

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