Two Indian journalists Gauri Lankesh and Sudip Dutta Bhaumik were among the 18 fallen members of the media added to the Journalists Memorial by the prestigious Newseum at a ceremony today.
Each year, the Newseum, a museum here dedicated to the understanding of the importance of a free press, selects a representative group of journalists whose names are added to the memorial and whose deaths illustrate the dangers faced by journalists around the world.
This year eight of the 18 journalists added to the memorial are women.
“Gauri Lankesh, 55, was known throughout India for her outspoken articles against the caste system and Hindu fundamentalism,” Newseum said in its brief description about her.
Lankesh was steps away from her front door of her house on September 5, 2017, when a gunman on a motorcycle pulled up and fired, hitting her in the chest and abdomen, it said, adding that she died instantly.
“An activist and editor of her own weekly magazine Gauri Lankesh Patrike, Lankesh frequently criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist agenda. Lankesh’s assassination set off nationwide protests. One man has been charged in her death,” the Newseum said.
About Sudip Dutta Bhaumik, the Newseum said he had investigated “police corruption” for local daily newspapers in Tripura.
On November 21, 2017, Bhaumik was asked to meet with Tapan Debbarma, the head of the local paramilitary force. A week earlier, Bhaumik had published an article about “corruption” within the force. The men argued and Debbarma allegedly ordered his bodyguard to shoot Bhaumik, who was killed at the scene, it said.
Quoting Bhaumik’s editor, the Newseum said, “Sudip’s only crime was that he had exposed a number of financial irregularities and corruption cases in which Debbarma was involved”.
Debbarma and the bodyguard were charged in Bhaumik’s death, it said.
Yameen Rasheed from The Daily Panic in Maldives is the other South Asian journalist added to the list.
“All the journalists recognised on this memorial this year faced unprecedented dangers as they worked to report the news, often in countries where press freedom is imperiled or nonexistent,” said Cathy Trost, Executive Director of the Freedom Forum Institute.
The soaring, two-story glass memorial bears the names of 2,323 reporters, editors, photographers and broadcasters who lost their lives in the line of duty. Of these include more than 80 Indian journalists.
The gallery also features photographs of hundreds of the journalists whose names are etched on the memorial’s glass panels, as well as kiosks, where information on every journalist on the memorial can be accessed.