Rakesh Singh Nirbhik

The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, has urged India to investigate the killing of print journalist Rakesh Singh Nirbhik who was attacked in his house in a village in Uttar Pradesh, India, on 27 November, 2020.

Rakesh Singh Nirbhik, a reporter for daily newspaper Rashtriya Swaroop who published numerous articles about corruption, was killed along with a friend when his house was set on fire.

Singh died of fatal burn injuries in hospital after three men reportedly entered his house in the village of Kalwari, doused him in inflammable liquid and set him on fire.

Before he died, the journalist said the attack was due to his reporting on corruption by the Kalwari village head Sushila Devi and her son. “This is the price for reporting the truth,” he said in a video recorded by the police at the hospital. The Balrampur police arrested the son of the village head and two other suspects who were allegedly involved in the crime. They all confessed to the crime and were sent to jail on 1 December, 2020.

Singh had reported on the alleged corrupt practices of the village major Sushila Devi over the installation of solar panels and the construction of roads and sewage facilities. The news website Newslaundry quoted a colleague of Nirbhik’s as saying that the journalist had informed the district magistrate of his fears for his life, but that the authorities had failed to act.

Singh is the second journalist murdered because of his reporting in November 2020, alone. Earlier, G. Moses, a reporter for Tamilian TV, was murdered in a western suburb of Kundrathru, following his coverage of illegal land grabbing.


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Department/Province/State:Uttar Pradesh




Date of Killing:28/11/2020

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Journalist/communicator

Organisation:Rashtriya Swaroop

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Abuse of power/corruption, Freedom of Expression

More information:Front Line Defenders

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