Gauri Lankesh: Journalists have a right to work freely and without fear

“The right to dissent is being curbed,” said Gauri Lankesh in an interview, a few months before she was fatally shot outside her home.

Gauri Lankesh was an outspoken journalist, editor and activist. She published a weekly newspaper, Gauri Lankesh Patrike, in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Through her writings in the subscription-based weekly, she tackled difficult issues like Hindu nationalism, caste and corruption. Her foray into activism began in 2002, when she protested against the movement that claimed the Sufi shrine of Baba Budan Giri belonged exclusively to Hindus. She was one of the founding members of Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike, an organisation that promotes communal harmony in Karnataka.

As a result of the issues she covered, she was the subject of several defamation cases and was constantly threatened online. In interviews and social media posts, she repeatedly expressed her concern regarding the shrinking space for dissent, and  the influence of intentionally misleading and false news.

On 5 September 2017, she was fatally shot outside her home by unidentified assailants.

She is one of four journalists who were killed in India in 2017 alone. According to data from the Committee to Protect Journalists, 44 journalists in India have been killed since 1992.

Gauri Lankesh lost her life championing truth and freedom of expression.

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