World Association of News Publishers

Protest Campaign - India - Uttar Pradesh, 3 July 2015

Protest Campaign - India - Uttar Pradesh, 3 July 2015

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Mr Akhilesh Yadav,
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh,
5, Kalidas Marg,

(By email)

3 July 2015


Dear Mr Yadav,

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, to convey the global journalistic community's shock and anger over the brutal murder of journalist Jogendra Singh in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh. 

In a horrible instance of lawmakers becoming killers, six policemen accompanied by a mob of 20 persons reportedly thrashed and set fire to Mr Singh at his home in front of horrified witnesses on 1 June. After suffering serious burns, Mr Singh died on 8 June. In his dying declaration before a judicial officer, the journalist named his killers and said they had carried out the attack on behalf of Ramamurthy Varma, a minister in your government.

According to local media reports, the journalist had exposed land grabbing, illegal mining operations and sexual assault on women in Shahjahanpur, and had said evidence pointed to involvement of the minister, local police officials, and criminal gangs. The attackers at first targeted Mr Singh for his investigative reports posted on Facebook, and then proceeded to pour kerosene oil over him saying that they were teaching him an extreme lesson.

Journalist organisations and civil society groups demanded that the investigation into Mr Singh’s death be entrusted to an independent investigative agency with no links either to the state government, or local police. We are disappointed to learn that you did not heed these demands, a move that allowed state police to float the story that Mr Singh had committed suicide. Furthermore, a witness who had confirmed Mr Singh was set ablaze subsequently changed her testimony following his death.

Local reports suggest there was immense pressure on medical and forensic experts to support the suicide theory. There has also been tremendous pressure placed on Mr Singh's family members.  The incident has done immense damage to Indian democracy and shaken faith in the government of Uttar Pradesh in terms of protecting press freedom and ensuring the safety of journalists.

We urge you to hand over the investigation to an independent team and to ensure the state government takes harsh actions as prescribed under law against those found to be responsible for Mr Singh’s murder, even – and especially – if the killers occupy high positions in the government. There is also urgent need for you, as the leader of the government of the most populous state in India, to send a strong message that there will be zero tolerance for those who intimidate and attack journalists.


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 15:24

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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 ...