Employed by national public TV broadcaster Doordarshan, Achyutananda Sahu was following a police patrol through a forest in Dantewada, a district in the south of the state, when they came under fire from Maoist guerrillas known as Naxals. Two police officers were also killed in the attack.
Sahu had been dispatched to the region, which has long had a significant Maoist guerrilla presence, because state assembly elections are due to be held in Chhattisgarh on 12 November.
“Achyutananda Sahu’s death is the latest tragedy to afflict the journalistic community in India, which had already been badly hit in recent months,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk.
“Four Indian journalists were already killed in connection with their work this year, and many others have been the targets of violence and threats. Thought must be given to an effective mechanism for protecting journalists. We urge India’s politicians to make this one of the major issues of next spring’s general elections.”
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issued an “incident report” in July about the threat to India’s position in the World Press Freedom Index because of a deterioration in several of the indicators used to calculate a country’s ranking, including the “acts of violence against journalists” indicator.
India is ranked 138th out of 180 countries in the 2018 Index.