PEN Delhi is extremely concerned about the threats against Neha Dixit, an award-winning and courageous Journalist who has been fearless in the pursuit of truth. Since September 2020, Dixit has been receiving phone calls where the caller identifies her exact location and threatens her with rape, acid attack and death, in the clear context of her work as a journalist. These calls have been made through over two dozen phone numbers and Dixit has identified three to four different caller voices. Further the caller indicates the whereabouts of Dixit’s partner, Nakul Singh Sawhney, as well – who is a film-maker and who has been attacked in the past for his work – and threatens to kill both of them.
On January 25th, someone had tried to break into Dixit’s house, running away when Dixit had screamed and opened the door.
Dixit has filed a police complaint in this regard.
PEN Delhi finds this particularly worrisome in the context of the murders of journalists, writers and activists like Gauri Lankesh, M. M. Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare. More recently there have been attempts to silence journalists and they have been targeted, as in the ongoing farmers’ protests where FIRs (First Information Reports) have been filed against them for merely reporting and doing their job. The Editors’ Guild of India has come out strongly against this.
We urge the authorities to protect journalistic freedom, which is essential to any democracy. We ask that they investigate the threats against Neha Dixit and act swiftly to bring the perpetrators of these threats to justice. For a democracy to be able to function it is imperative that journalists and writers are able to do their work without the threat of physical harm and/or death hanging over their heads.