Organisation June 10, 2021 Find out more India is ranked 140th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index. “It is absolutely unacceptable that someone involved in a journalist’s murder should be able to carry another attack on a journalist with complete impunity three years later,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “Everything suggests that the responsibility for this attack lies above all with the minister Rajendra Balaji. We therefore call on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami to fire him at once so that he can be brought to justice. The impunity must stop.” Balaji is notorious for urging his supporters to use violence against his enemies. At a press conference last month, he told journalists they should not “ask questions about politics.” Last year, he called for the tongue of one of his opponents to be cut out. News Help by sharing this information to go further IndiaAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesProtecting journalists Violence According to the Virudhunagar superintendent of police, who is responsible for investigating the attack against Karthi, Sellapandi was involved in the death of Karthigai Selvan, a journalist who was murdered in Sivakasi in a similar attack by a group of men armed with steel bars in January 2017. April 27, 2021 Find out more March 3, 2021 Find out more After a newspaper reporter was beaten almost to death by political activists this week in India’s far-south state of Tamil Nadu, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the authorities to ensure that both the instigators and perpetrators of this attack are quickly brought to justice. Follow the news on India IndiaAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesProtecting journalists Violence Karthi says Balaji phoned him just before the attack to express his displeasure with the article. He also says he recognized two of his attackers as individuals nicknamed Sellapandi and Poomurugan who are supporters of the Balaji faction. The police arrested them yesterday. India: RSF denounces “systemic repression” of Manipur’s media News Reporter M. Karthi (right) was beaten almost to death. He says Minister Rajendra Balaji (left) phoned him just before the attack to express his displeasure with an article (photos: TopTamilNews – TOI). RSF demands release of detained Indian journalist Siddique Kappan, hospitalised with Covid-19 RSF_en The attack took place just hours after an article by Karthi about splits within Tamil Nadu’s leading regional political party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), was published in the Kumudham Reporter, the regional weekly for which he is the Virudhunagar district correspondent. Receive email alerts News The article raised the possibility that the AIADMK faction led by Rajendra Balaji, Tamil Nadu’s minister of dairy development, could be defeated by a rival faction led by Raja Varman, a member of Tamil Nadu’s parliament. March 6, 2020 Indian reporter badly beaten for article about Tamil Nadu minister News In rural India, journalists face choice between covering pandemic and survival Reporter M. Karthi sustained deep cuts to his head, a broken jaw and lesions all over his body when a group of men beat him with steel bars in Sivakasi, a town in Virudhunagar district, on the evening of 3 March. Karthi heard one of his assailants shout: “You want to publish news, you bastard? I’ll kill you today!”
The pacification police units (UPPs in Portuguese) are omnipresent in these communities. Chapéu Mangueira and Babilônia each have six precincts with two officers in each post at all times. Some police patrol on foot. The government has also installed sanitation systems, and water, and electricity. One year ago, says Assis, the residents didn’t have those things. “Before, they’d steal it,” he says. The state is also providing job training, education and other services. Human rights observers praise the new approach to favelas, if not always the execution. “Now, for the first time, we have a program that is not designed to protect people who live in the city from those in the slums, but rather to protect people in the slums themselves,” says Ignacio Cano, a researcher at the Rio de Janeiro State University Laboratory for the Analysis of Violence. In the 17 or 18 areas that have been pacified so far, the impact has been a dramatic decrease in armed shootouts, as well as territorial control of irregular armed groups. The Rio de Janeiro Institute on Public Security reports homicides in the city have fallen by 18.4 percent in the last 12 months. Cano and his colleagues interviewed residents in other communities near Copacabana in 2004. One man told him: “What a favela does not want to see is deaths, especially those of innocents. So favela residents think: ‘It’s good that the policeman and the dealer are talking. At least tomorrow there will be no shooting.’ What the resident doesn’t want is his door to be full of bullet holes, to be unable to take his son to school, to be unable to return home from work or school.” Cano added: “If you ask people, ‘Do you want to go back to the old way?’ the answer is no.” By Dialogo July 29, 2011 RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Sgt. Vagner Luis de Assis gazes at the Chapéu Mangueira and Babilônia favelas perched in the hills above ritzy Copacabana beach. To illustrate what this neighborhood used to be like, he mimics a narco-boss armed with an assault rifle scanning the neighborhood, bands of ammunition crisscrossing his chest. In the past, police strategies in favelas consisted of periodic occupations and interventions against drug lords and paramilitaries. Many innocent residents were caught in the crossfire. Rio de Janeiro’s public defender says that in the past 10 years, more than 60,000 murders remain unsolved. The government is now taking a new approach it hopes will have lasting benefits: community assistance. Chapéu Mangueira-Babilônia, home to 6,000, has been pacified for two years, and it shows in the tranquility of a Saturday afternoon. The view from the balcony of UPP headquarters is gorgeous — the blue of the Atlantic Ocean, the white sand of Copacabana Beach. Kites fly everywhere. Assis says it took his men one week to enter the favela. “BOPE [Rio’s Special Operations Police Battalion] came in and cleaned it up, then we came in behind,” he said. “They’re the front lines. We give the drug lords a chance to leave, otherwise many people would be killed.” Looking at the high rises, he says, “The people in Copacabana love it. Imagine, a really nice area, high class, millionaires, right next to people without anything. For them [the pacification] was marvelous. It’s brought the incidence of robbery, assault, and breaking and entering almost to zero.” The UPPs began in 2009, and the first favela to be pacified was Santa Marta. Now, it’s a tourist-friendly model area: It has an elevator, a nice view of Lagoa, Botafogo and Corcovado, a samba school and a paintball camp. UPP officers even delivered a baby there.