New Delhi, Sep 15: Bihar-based journalist Raj Deo Ranjan may have been killed by "political mafia" because of his critical reporting, according to a fact-finding committee of the Press Council of India (PCI).
The PCI has accepted the report of the fact-finding committee last week. Another fact-finding report which the PCI accepted was regarding the murder of Jharkhand journalist Akhilesh Pratap Singh which suggested that he may have been killed over demand of money by a Naxalite group.
In a meeting held on September 9, the PCI, which is headed by Justice (retd) C K Prasad, also expressed concern over spurt in criminal defamation cases against journalists and has decided to call from all states and Union territories the details of such cases.
In a statement released here, the PCI said that in the meeting, two separate Fact Finding Reports related to the murder of two journalists -- Raj Deo Ranjan, Bureau Chief, Hindustan, Bihar and Akhilesh Pratap Singh, TV Journalist, Chhatra, Jharkhand -- were accepted.
"The finding inter-alia suggested that Raj Deo Ranjan was killed by the political mafia because of his critical reportage and on the other hand, Akhilesh Pratap Singh though not perhaps had been murdered due to professional activities but may be due to demand of money by a Naxalite Group," the statement said.
The Council sought suitable compensation for the families of the deceased and urged the respective state governments to take the corrective measure to ward off the "fear psychosis prevailing in the media."
Expressing concern over spurt in criminal defamation cases against journalists, the PCI said it has adjudicated 148 complaints of cases against the press and 38 complaints filed by the Press against the authorities.
It disposed of 558 matters on preliminary stage for default of mandatory requirements under the Press Council Act, 1978.