Journalist Organisations Condemn Brutal Attack on Nikhil Wagle, Demand Accountability and Justice

New Delhi: Journalist organizations have strongly condemned the recent attack on senior journalist Mr. Nikhil Wagle by members of a political party in Pune, India. This incident follows a worrying trend of intolerance towards the media’s role in upholding democratic values and freedom of expression. The attack occurred after an FIR was filed against Wagle for his remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP leader LK Advani, which led to an assault by alleged Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers on February 9 at Khandoji Baba Chowk in Pune.

Gautam Lahiri, President of the Press Club of India, and representatives from the Indian Women’s Press Corps and the Press Association, issued a joint statement emphasizing the urgent need for accountability and justice in this matter. They expressed shock and outrage at the escalation of violence against journalists, stressing the importance of fostering an environment where differing opinions are respected and subject to constructive dialogue rather than violent reprisal.

The organizations also called for the withdrawal of severe charges brought against Mr. Wagle under criminal laws, including accusations of promoting enmity, mischief, and defamation. They urged the Maharashtra government to take decisive action against the perpetrators of the attack, emphasizing that impunity for such acts of violence only emboldens further assaults on press freedom. Additionally, they called upon the authorities to send a strong message that violence against journalists will not be tolerated and that those responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

The attack on Mr. Wagle is just one example of the increasing threats and violence faced by journalists in India in recent years. Such incidents are deeply concerning and detrimental to the fabric of democracy. It is crucial for the government to ensure the safety and protection of journalists, as well as uphold the values of freedom of speech and expression. Journalist organizations will continue to advocate for justice and accountability in cases of violence against journalists, highlighting the importance of a free and safe environment for the media to perform its crucial role in a democratic society.