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Media Release: Bail Granted for Indian Journalist, but Worries Persist Over Political Pressures

Media Release: India

February 25, 2013

Bail Granted for Indian Journalist, but Worries Persist Over Political
Pressures

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the grant of bail
to senior journalist
http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/ifj-deeply-concerned-over-criminal-c
harges-against-indian-investigative-reporter> K.K. , in the southern
Indian state of after a hearing in a district court on 22
February.

Shahina, who currently works for Open magazine in the state of , south
of Karnataka, faces charges of criminal intimidation of witnesses following
a story she wrote for the weekly magazine Tehelka. The story which appeared
in December 2010 cast doubt on the charges of terrorism brought against a
prominent Islamic cleric from Kerala state.

Facing the possibility of arrest since January 2011, Shahina was granted
anticipatory bail by the Karnataka High Court in July 2011. Following
summons issued after charges were formally laid against her in January this
year, Shahina appeared before a court in Somwarpet in Kodagu district of
Karnataka, to renew her bail.

IFJ sources indicate that the courtroom where the bail hearing was scheduled
was besieged by activists of the right-wing political group, the Bajrang
Dal, on 22 February, just as Shahina made her appearance.

Shahina and friends, who accompanied her to the hearing, were reportedly
threatened by the Bajrang Dal activists who also insisted that a
cameraperson show them the visuals he had recorded, to ensure that they
could not be identified in public.

The IFJ joins partners in in urging the authorities in Karnataka state
to ensure that conditions for a fair trial are maintained.

“We see this prosecution as an effort to silence fair and independent
reporting through legal injunction and harassment”, said the IFJ
Asia-Pacific.

“If the victimisation of a journalist is further compounded by an atmosphere
of fear and intimidation created in the environs of the courtroom hearing
her case, then we fear the likely chilling effect this could have on free
and fair reporting”.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on  +612 9333 0950

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/ifjasiapacific>
@ifjasiapacific

 

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