Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay has sought a timely investigation into the death of television reporter Parag Bhuyan at Kakopathar in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district on November 11.
The 47-year-old journalist died at the Assam Medical College and Hospital in adjoining Dibrugarh district after receiving serious injuries in a hit-and-run case. The driver of the pick-up truck that hit him near his house was later arrested.
Ms. Azoulay deplored Bhuyan’s death and sought clarity from the Indian authorities on the circumstances surrounding the accident that cost him his life.
“I trust that the Indian authorities will ensure a timely investigation to shed light on the circumstances of Bhuyan’s death. No effort should be spared to enable journalists to exercise their profession safety, without let or hindrance,” said a statement quoting her.
“UNESCO promotes the safety of journalists through global awareness-raising, capacity building and a range of actions, notably in the framework of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity,” the statement added.
Bhuyan was the younger brother of former Assam Minister Jagadish Bhuyan, who quit the Bharatiya Janata Party during the peak of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act movement in December 2019 and became the chief convenor of the newly formed Assam Jatiya Parishad.
Last month, the Editors Guild of India wrote to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, expressing serious concern over the rising incidents of violence against journalists in the State.
The media fraternity in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts had sniffed foul play in Bhuyan’s death as he had exposing alleged syndicates in illegal timber and coal businesses.
In July 2019, 43-year-old television reporter Malin Sarma died in a similar hit-and-run case in southern Assam’s Silchar town.