Swiftly investigate Lankesh murder and end impunity: editors from South Asia, Australia, UK


New Delhi/London,

Sept 7, 2017

An international group of editors, writers and media professionals from South Asia, the UK and Australia have joined demands seeking swift action in the murder of prominent journalist Gauri Lankesh.

The South Asia Media Defenders Network, an informal association of editors and media practitioners, which has been recently formed to stand up for the rights of journalists under pressure, expresses its sadness and anger at the shooting and murder of the leading Karnataka editor and journalist Gauri Lankesh outside her home in Bengaluru.

Editors, columnist and media professionals from South Asia, the UK and Australia said today that they stood "in solidarity with her family and her colleagues in and outside the state and demand a full, impartial investigation into her death and the circumstances which led to it and seek the killers and conspirators be brought to justice.

"At a time when freedom of expression spaces is shrinking everywhere, this is another reminder of the fragility of life, the risk that media professionals face when they take a stand in any part of the world. It is especially tragic that such a situation should have come to pass in a city that has been hyped as India's Silicon Valley and hence a space for safe investment and a stable and safe life.

"We expect not just the Karnataka government but the state police and the Centre to take clear and effective steps to deal with the murder and circumstances leading to it, institute a swift, impartial and effective investigation and urge the media and Civil Society Organizations to robustly pursue a campaign to ensure that there is no let-up in the investigation so that the killers, their backers and conspirators are brought to book.

"Justice for Gauri Lankesh must be accompanied by opposition to impunity and criminality -- combined with a renewed commitment to freedom of expression and speaking truth to power and compassion in reflecting the conditions of the poor and vulnerable. These, we believe, are the bench marks of journalists, journalism and professional media."

Sanjoy Hazarika, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), columnist and author

Siddharth Varadarajan, Founding Editor, The Wire

David Brewer, Independent Media consultant, London

Mrinal Pande, Writer and Editor, New Delhi

Tarun Basu, Director and former Chief Editor, IANS and President, Society for Policy Studies (SPS)

Nidhi Razdan, Executive Editor, NDTV

Mahfuz Anam, Editor and Publisher of The Daily Star

Sir Mark Tully, Journalist and Broadcaster

Gillian Wright, independent journalist and author

Mahendra Ved, President, Commonwealth Journalists Association, Columnist ,The New Straits Times, Malaysia

John Zubrzycki, writer, former Deputy Foreign Editor, The Australian newspaper, Sydney

Preeti Gill, former Commissioning Editor, Zubaan, Publishing Consultant and Literary Agent

Salil Tripathi, columnist, author, Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International, London

Vijay Naik, Convener, Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondents and Consulting Editor, Sakal Media Group

Rita Payne, journalist and Media Adviser, President Emeritus, Commonwealth Journalists Association

Professor Imtiaz Ahmed, columnist and Executive Director, RCSS, Colombo

Pradip Phanjoubam, Editor, Imphal Free Press

Prasun Sonwalkar, senior journalist, London

Samrat Choudhury, independent writer, Shillong

Sandeep Phukan, Deputy Editor, The Hindu

Karan Thapar, journalist and a television commentator and interviewer

S. Nihal Singh, veteran journalist  

Sudheer Sharma, author and Editor-In-Chief of Kantipur, largest selling daily, Kathmandu, Nepal

Kanak Dixit - Writer and Founding Editor, Himal Southasian, Kathmandu, Nepal

Kunda Dixit, Nepal Times, Kathmandu

Abbas Nasir, columnist and former editor of Dawn, Pakistan

Mohammed Hanif, Journalist and writer, Karachi, Pakistan

Rajendra Dahal, Editor, Shikshak Monthly, Former Chairman, Press Council, Kathmandu, Nepal

Nupur Basu, independent journalist, and Documentary Filmmaker

William Horsley, Commonwealth Journalists Association, London 

David Page, Commonwealth Journalists Association, London 

Subir Ghosh, independent journalist, Bengaluru

Utpal Borpujari, Filmmaker and Film Critic

Ehsan Ahmed Sehar President Rural Media Network Pakistan & Chief Editor Daily Nawa-I-AhmedpurSharqia,Pakistan

Zaheena Rasheed, journalist, former editor of the Maldives Independent 

Irfan Husain, Pakistani columnist and writer

Patricia Mukhim, Editor, Shillong Times

Monalisa Changkija, Editor, Nagaland page

Mitra Phukan, author

Raymond Kharmujai, independent journalist, Shillong

Badar Alam, Editor Herald, Pakistan 

Kavita Bajeli-Datt, former chief of bureau, IANS and Communications Officer, CHRI