National

Press Freedom: Prominent Journalists Who Are Now Behind Bars

Press freedom has long come under question in the current national politics of India. Several of them are behind the bars while others have been slapped with various charges including the draconian UAPA.

Press Freedom: Prominent Journalists Who Are Now Behind Bars
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Sajad Gul

Sajad Gul, a reporter with The Kashmir Walla, was arrested on January 6, 2022 for posting a video on social media about a protest at the home of a rebel killed during a gunfight with the Indian armed forces. He was at the time pursuing his master’s degree in convergent journalism.

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Rupesh Kumar Singh | Illustration: Saahil

Rupesh Kumar Singh

Rupesh Kumar Singh is an independent Hindi journalist from Jharkhand known for his extensive reportage on issues of human rights violation and persecution of tribal people. In 2021, Singh’s phone number was among that of 40 Indian journalists which appeared on a leaked database of potential targets of cyber surveillance using Pegasus spyware, largely used by governments. Singh has been in jail since July 17, 2022, when he was arrested by the Jharkhand Police over alleged Maoist links.

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Irfan Mehraj | Illustration: Saahil

Irfan Mehraj

Irfan Mehraj, a Kashmiri journalist and human rights activist, was arrested by the NIA in March this year. He was accused of “funding terror activities”. He started his career in 2013 in Kashmir Life, a weekly magazine based out of Srinagar. Mehraj was known for his fresh takes and fearless reportage in the politically sensitive region and wrote on Kashmir’s politics, history and culture.

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Aasif Sultan | Illustration: Saahil

Aasif Sultan

Aasif Sultan, a Kashmiri journalist, has been in prison since his arrest in August 2018 under UAPA. He was arrested after a midnight raid and has been accused of “harboring known pro-freedom fighters” while working as an assistant editor for a Srinagar-based English magazine Kashmir Narrator. Sultan, his family and his colleagues have termed the allegations as ‘baseless’.

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Fahad Shah | Illustration: Saahil

Fahad Shah

Fahad Shah, journalist and editor of the Srinagar-based independent news website, The Kashmir Walla was arrested on February 4, 2022, after he reported on a deadly police raid in Jammu and Kashmir. In 2020, Shah was nominated for the Press Freedom Prize For Courage, administered by the Paris-based Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) for playing “an important part in defending press freedom, using innovative methods to keep 8 million Kashmiris informed” after August 2019.

(This appeared in the print as 'Behind Bars')

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