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UN Chief Expresses Concern Over Killings of Journalists in India

March 28, 2018 | By

UN: UN chief Antonio Guterres has expressed concern over the deaths of two journalists in India and the violence against media-persons across the globe.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres [File Photo]

“We, of course, are concerned about anything that would suggest the harassment or violence against journalists, anywhere in the world and would do so in this case,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters at the daily press briefing yesterday (March 27).

Following is the near-verbatim transcript of question and answer that took place on this issue during March 27 daily press briefing by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterress’s deputy spokesman:

Question: Okay. I just want to know, Farhan, do… does the United Nations have anything to say about these two Indian journalists rammed by an SUV on which the Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, has issued a statement saying… condemning it? Do you have anything to say about that?

Spokesman: Yeah, we… we, of course, are concerned about anything that would suggest the harassment or violence against journalists, anywhere in the world and… and would do so in this case. Now, I have the following note to read right now. The Secretary‑General is pleased to confirm that, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 72/252, he has reappointed Mohamed Chande Othman, former Chief Justice of [the United Republic of] Tanzania, to continue his work in relation to the investigation into the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him. It is recalled that the Secretary‑General has previously appointed Chief Justice Othman as Eminent Person pursuant to General Assembly resolution 71/260, and the Secretary‑General transmitted the Eminent Person’s report to the General Assembly in September 2017, which was document A/71/1042. That report concluded, among other things, that it remains plausible that an external attack or threat may have been a cause of the crash. The Secretary‑General urges Member States to actively assist the Eminent Person in the performance of his mandate. In this respect, and as provided for in General Assembly resolution 72/252, the Secretary‑General calls on Member States that may hold information relevant to the Dag Hammarskjöld investigation to appoint an independent and high‑ranking official to conduct a dedicated internal review of their intelligence, security and defence archives to determine whether relevant information exists. The Secretary‑General renews his commitment to this matter in the strongest terms as he [firmly believes] that he owes it to his illustrious and distinguished predecessor, Dag Hammarskjöld, and to the other members of the party accompanying him and to their families, to pursue the full truth of this matter. And with that, let me clear the floor for Brenden. [Source: UN Press Briefing (March 27) Transcript]

Sandeep Sharma, 35, a reporter for a local television channel in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind district, died after he was mowed down by a truck. Sharma had complained about threats to his life after he carried out a sting operation on illegal sand mining.

In Bihar, Naveen Nishchal, a journalist who worked for a Hindi daily, was among two persons killed when an SUV rammed into their bike in Bhojpur district, with the family alleging that it was a case of murder and that a former village head was behind it.

Advocacy group The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned the killings, and called on the Indian authorities to determine the motive and bring to justice those responsible for Sharma’s death.

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