The IPI global network today called on the authorities in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh to immediately arrest and hold to account those responsible for the killing of Chennakeshavalu, a TV reporter.
According to media reports, Chennakeshavalu, a reporter for a local television channel EV5, was stabbed to death on the night of August 8 by a police constable and his brother in the town of Nandyal in Kurnool district.
The police said that a police constable named Venkatsubbaiah had called the reporter asking him to come for a meeting to discuss a report that Chennakeshavalu had aired about the constable’s alleged involvement in the illegal sale of tobacco products and gambling in the area. When the journalist arrived, he was reportedly stabbed with a screwdriver and later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.
The accused police official and his brother are absconding. Police have registered a case of murder against the two.
“Authorities in Andhra Pradesh must immediately arrest those responsible for the murder of Chennakashavalu”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “This terrible killing underscores the threat that Indian journalists face when they expose corruption involving government officials and people in power. Impunity for crimes against journalists is extremely high in India and several cases of journalists’ murders have not been thoroughly investigated.”
Chennakeshavalu is the second journalist killed in India so far this year, according to IPI’s Death Watch. On June 3, Sulabh Srivastava, a reporter for ABDP Ganga TV channel, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh. Initially, the police claimed that the journalist had died in a road accident, but later opened a murder investigation, which is still ongoing. A day before his death the journalist had written to the local police authorities expressing fear for his life owing to his investigative reports on local liquor mafia. In 2020, five journalists were killed in targeted attacks in India.