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A Journalist’s Pay…

It is being seen that five people have been sentenced to death, while three others have received life imprisonment for their alleged involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi (October 13, 1958 – October 2, 2018)! Khashoggi – the Saudi Arabian dissident, author, columnist for The Washington Post, and General Manager and Editor-in-Chief of Al-Arab News Channel – was reportedly assassinated at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by agents of the Saudi Government after they had allegedly used Israeli spyware to hack his friend’s cell phone. Interestingly, the concerned authorities in Riyadh did not disclose identities of those eight people, saying in a statement that they had no connection with Saudi Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud! Meanwhile, the court dismissed charges against Ahmed al-Assiri, a former Deputy Intelligence Chief, and Mohammed al-Otaibi, Saudi’s Consul General in Istanbul, who are popularly known as close aides of the Saudi Prince. Al-Qahtani and al-Otaibi were sanctioned by the US Treasury a year ago for their alleged involvement in the murder!

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Jamal Khashoggi

Naturally, the Global Community has raised an important question: What kind of justice this is? The Saudi Government not only hid the identities of perpetrators, but also refused to disclose evidences found against them. A question, hence, naturally arises: Does an investigative journalist deserve this sort of justice?
The State Power possibly believes that it is important to establish the ‘one will not get justice if not being attacked‘ in order to silence the voice of the Oppositions! This belief becomes true, as journalists get accustomed to self-control. They have realised the fact that it becomes increasingly difficult for honest journalists to survive, especially if they work in a small Media House. As per a latest report, at least 40 journalists have been killed in India in the last five years, and 198 cases of attacks on media persons have been registered during this period!

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Researchers have found that in many cases, the Police have rejected statements made by the relatives and colleagues of the slain journalist, and mentioned the cause of the murder as an outcome of family disputes… The Indian journalists have started avoiding the Police even after being attacked out of sheer frustration! It seems that the Press Council of India and the National Human Rights Commission are not much interested in journalists’ murder trials…
Reporters Sans Frontières – an international non-profit, non-governmental organisation based in Paris that conducts political advocacy on issues relating to freedom of information and freedom of the press – has stated in its latest report that although the number of attacks on journalists has decreased in war-ravaged countries, like Syria and Afghanistan, such incidents have increased in so-called peaceful nations! It, in other words, means that journalists have become the main target of State Power! At least 389 journalists have been jailed in 2019, and one-third of them are in Chinese prisons!

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China occupies the 177th position among 180 countries in Press Freedom Index, an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Sans Frontières based upon the organisation’s own assessment of the countries’ Press Freedom records in the previous year. Meanwhile, neighbouring India holds the 140th place. The behaviour with journalists not only shows the character of a State, but also proves that an attack on a journalist is the attack on (at least a few voices, especially in a) Nation that claims to adhere to Democracy!

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