World Association of News Publishers

Protest Campaign - India - Madhya Pradesh, 3 July 2015

Protest Campaign - India - Madhya Pradesh, 3 July 2015

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Mr Shivraj SIngh Chauhan,
Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh,
CM House,
6, Shyamala Hills,
Bhopal, India.

(By e-mail)


3 July 2015


Dear Mr. Chauhan,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, regarding the murder of journalist Sandeep Kothari.

Mr Kothari was kidnapped from Balaghat in the state of Madhya Pradesh, and on 21 June his body was discovered in the neighbouring state of Maharashtra.

Mr Kothari was a brave journalist who had worked for the reputed Hindi-language newspaper Nai Duniya. He was a freelance contributor to a number of publications at the time of his murder. Known for his investigations into the activities of the ‘mining mafia’, he had filed a variety of applications for sensitive government information under the Right to Information Act.

His journalistic work had reportedly antagonised a number of people inside and outside of the state government, and Mr Kothari had faced a barrage of criminal complaints. According to his lawyer, Mr Kothari had been acquitted in 19 of the 20 cases filed against him.

Local media reports have suggested Mr Kothari’s murder was a conspiracy hatched by the ‘mining mafia’ that had come under close scrutiny as a result of his journalistic work. Many journalist groups in Madhya Pradesh have expressed concern over the murder of their colleague, particularly as police and state authorities have attempted to portray Mr Kothari as a criminal before any investigation has taken place. This deliberate move can only have the effect of diverting the investigation from its real task of unearthing the facts surrounding Mr Kothari’s kidnap and murder.

We urge you to direct an impartial investigation into the murder of Mr Kothari and to insist that public officials cease in their attempts to tarnish the reputation of a journalist who has paid the ultimate price by sacrificing his life in the line of duty.


We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,


Tomas Brunegård
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Marcelo Rech
World Editors Forum



WAN-IFRA is the global organisation for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organisation groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2015-07-07 15:19

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...