Grave risks persist for freelance media

A British freelance journalist has accused an inn-keeper in India of raping her when she stayed the night at his guesthouse.

The 40-year-old alleges she was sexually assaulted on December 23 after she asked Parvat Singh, owner of the Pardesi Guest House in Rajasthan, Goa, for an extra blanket.

Disclosures seen by the Hindustan Times add that Singh is being detained, while a full investigation is underway by police in Udaipur, which arrested the 23-year-old last week.

The freelance, who has since been treated in hospital, apparently contacted the British High Commission in India a day after the alleged rape, so the police could be alerted.

Meanwhile, authorities closer to home this week ruled that another freelance journalist, Richard Wild of Edinburgh, was unlawfully killed in Iraq.

The 24-year-old, who was a former soldier, was shot in the back of the head on July 5, 2003, after just two weeks in the country covering the aftermath of the conflict.

This week Mr Wild’s family explained to a local newspaper they had been given conflicting information about his death, including reports he was killed by an angry mob.

They added they had tried to convince their son not to go to Iraq but he reportedly wanted to establish himself as a freelance war correspondent.

Richard Wild was a freelance journalist for ITN which told The Herald it was “shocked and saddened” by his death.

The broadcaster reportedly added: “He was regarded as a dedicated and popular member of the newsroom team, particularly as he tracked all the material coming into ITN during the Iraq war.”

This month, the NUJ will hold a conference on the problems of reporting from conflict zones, with a panel of speakers including the BBC’s Alan Johnston, who was recently held hostage in Gaza.

Journalists from the New Statesman and the BBC’s Newsnight programme will join the debate – New Threats to Media Freedom – how we fight back, in London on Jan 26.

The event follows concern from members of the NUJ’s Freelance branch that political and commercial pressures on journalists are curtailing freedom of information, expression and threatening democracy.


16th January 2008

Related News

Latest News