UP miscreants attack, burn CNN-IBN vehicle

MUMBAI: Journalists under attack is becoming an increasingly common phenomenon. The capital Lucknow of India's largest state Uttar Pradesh was the scene of an attack today on a vehicle belonging to English news channel CNN-IBN.

In an incident that happened this afternoon, four masked assailants surrounded a CNN-IBN vehicle in Lucknow, dragged the driver and the attendant out and beat them up. They also burned the vehicle. The attack comes less than 24 hours after the channel aired a story on UP politician Mayawati's assets, which the CBI is investigating.

CNN-IBN editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai says, "We strongly condemn the incident, which took place this afternoon in Lucknow. We demand for a full inquiry and want a judicial probe into this incident. We are not blaming anyone. We express deep concern over the violence directed towards journalists. In the best traditions of freedom of the press, journalists must be allowed to perform their professional duties free from violence and intimidation. Today it is CNN-IBN; tomorrow it could be another channel or newspaper."

The month of February witnessed several such attacks. In Maharashtra, the offices of Zee Telefilms were trashed by workeres owing allegiance to the right wing Hindu nationalist party Shiv Sena over a skit at an awards function that lampooned the internal feuds within the Thackeray family.

In another incident, about 20 journalists were injured when supporters of Kerala Industries minister PK Kunhalikutty (who was charged with sexual exploitation) attacked media personnel covering his arrival from Saudi Arabia. The vehicle of the Malayali television news channel India Vision was completely damaged in the attack.

"Media freedom is at stake, and the media needs to stand together as one," Sardesai asserted.

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