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India's World Press Freedom Index Ranking Drops To Record Low, Should We Be Worried?

The World Press Freedom Index is out an India has dropped 2 places. It is now ranked 142 out of 180 countries when it comes to journalistic freedom.

The annual World Press Freedom Index was revealed this week. Sadly India dropped 2 places from its earlier position, ranking a lowly 142 out of 180 countries.

The analysis was done by Reporters Without Borders stated that while no murders of journalists were reported in 2019, as compared to 6 in 2018, the security situation for Indian media has only worsened in the past year.

 

The report held many factors responsible for India’s low position on the index. Constant press violations, police violence against journalists, virulent campaigns against women and pressure on the media to toe the Hindu nationalist government's line were some of them.

What Is The World Press Freedom Index?

Reports Without Borders or Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) is a Paris based non- profit organization. It works to safeguard the right to freedom of information and expression. The organization’s mandate is to promote free and independent journalism, while also protecting the rights of media organizations and personnel.

Its World Press Freedom Index has been published every year since 2002. The Index ranks 180 countries and regions according to the freedom available to journalists in these regions.

A questionnaire-based on quantitative and qualitative analysis is used by the RSF to rank the countries on journalistic freedom. Some of the indicators used for this are:-

  1. Pluralism,
  2. Independence of media
  3. Environmental and self-censorship
  4. Legislative framework
  5. Infrastructure
  6. Transparency
  7. Abuses

What The World Press Freedom Index Says About India

The recently released report is damming in its judgement of the state of Indian media. It recounts the various incidents that have contributed to the low position of India on the World Press Freedom Index.

Lack Of Press Freedom In Kashmir

One of the central tenets revolves around the reaction of the Indian press to the situation unfolding in Kashmir. A communication blackout was imposed shortly after the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year. This made it virtually impossible for journalists to report what was happening on the ground.

Not only this a New York Times report revealed how the Modi government has made it extremely difficult for foreign journalists to get Indian visas. Strict restrictions and bans on conflict regions such as northeast India and Jammu and Kashmir have become common parlance during the BJP regime.

The report ironically comes right when the issue of freedom of expression of Kashmiri journalists is in the news. Recently several Kashmir journalists have been booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and are being questioned by the police for their reporting of events.

Masrat Zahra, a photojournalist from Kashmir is one such victim. A reporter who covers the plight of women and children in Kashmir has had an FIR lodged against her. The FIR states that ‘Masrat Zahra is uploading anti-national posts with criminal intention to induce the youth and to promote offences against public tranquillity’

Targeting Of Journalists

The World Press Freedom Index also noted the coordinated hate campaigns being waged against journalists on social media. Most of these campaigns seem to revolve around journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that annoy Hindutva followers, it said. These campaigns often called for the murder of such journalists.

With the government turning a deaf ear to such campaigns, the frequency of such campaigns has increased manifold over the past year, as journalists such as Rana Ayyub and Ravish Kumar reported first hand. The situation got so out of hand, that the NDTV anchor wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, saying that he felt his life was under threat.

The campaigns take a nasty turn when it is a woman journalist in question. The emergence of a #MeToo movement in the media in 2018 has lifted the veil on many cases of harassment and sexual assault to which women reporters have been subjected

Criminal Prosecutions Against Reporters and Media Houses

The report also talks about how criminal prosecutions are often used to silence journalists critical of the government. Those who don’t play according to the Modi government’s rules are subject to immense pressure from political activists, criminal groups or corrupt local officials.

One such incident occurred recently involving news website The Wire and the Uttar Pradesh Police. The news website ran a story about how the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had attended a public religious gathering in Ayodhya on March 25. This was even after the Prime Minister had announced a nationwide lockdown to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Even though the matter is on public record, an FIR was against the editor of the news website for spreading fake news against Chief Minister Adityanath.

The Editors Guild of India has time and time again called for action against the threat being posed to journalists in India. After several journalists were heckled and attacked by rioters for reporting the recent riots in Delhi, the Guild urged the police to “take necessary steps to provide protection to journalists and prevent any such attack in the future”.

 

A quick look at last year’s report shows that things have only worsened for journalists in India when it comes to their safety.

The report stated last year that "Violence against journalists including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India.”

Looking at events unfolding right now, it only seems that things are getting worse for the Indian media. For a country like India that prides itself on freedom of expression and Right To Information, its lowly ranking on The World Press Freedom Index is something we should be worried about.

Trends

India's World Press Freedom Index Ranking Drops To Record Low, Should We Be Worried?

The World Press Freedom Index is out an India has dropped 2 places. It is now ranked 142 out of 180 countries when it comes to journalistic freedom.

The annual World Press Freedom Index was revealed this week. Sadly India dropped 2 places from its earlier position, ranking a lowly 142 out of 180 countries.

The analysis was done by Reporters Without Borders stated that while no murders of journalists were reported in 2019, as compared to 6 in 2018, the security situation for Indian media has only worsened in the past year.

 

The report held many factors responsible for India’s low position on the index. Constant press violations, police violence against journalists, virulent campaigns against women and pressure on the media to toe the Hindu nationalist government's line were some of them.

What Is The World Press Freedom Index?

Reports Without Borders or Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) is a Paris based non- profit organization. It works to safeguard the right to freedom of information and expression. The organization’s mandate is to promote free and independent journalism, while also protecting the rights of media organizations and personnel.

Its World Press Freedom Index has been published every year since 2002. The Index ranks 180 countries and regions according to the freedom available to journalists in these regions.

A questionnaire-based on quantitative and qualitative analysis is used by the RSF to rank the countries on journalistic freedom. Some of the indicators used for this are:-

  1. Pluralism,
  2. Independence of media
  3. Environmental and self-censorship
  4. Legislative framework
  5. Infrastructure
  6. Transparency
  7. Abuses

What The World Press Freedom Index Says About India

The recently released report is damming in its judgement of the state of Indian media. It recounts the various incidents that have contributed to the low position of India on the World Press Freedom Index.

Lack Of Press Freedom In Kashmir

One of the central tenets revolves around the reaction of the Indian press to the situation unfolding in Kashmir. A communication blackout was imposed shortly after the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year. This made it virtually impossible for journalists to report what was happening on the ground.

Not only this a New York Times report revealed how the Modi government has made it extremely difficult for foreign journalists to get Indian visas. Strict restrictions and bans on conflict regions such as northeast India and Jammu and Kashmir have become common parlance during the BJP regime.

The report ironically comes right when the issue of freedom of expression of Kashmiri journalists is in the news. Recently several Kashmir journalists have been booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and are being questioned by the police for their reporting of events.

Masrat Zahra, a photojournalist from Kashmir is one such victim. A reporter who covers the plight of women and children in Kashmir has had an FIR lodged against her. The FIR states that ‘Masrat Zahra is uploading anti-national posts with criminal intention to induce the youth and to promote offences against public tranquillity’

Targeting Of Journalists

The World Press Freedom Index also noted the coordinated hate campaigns being waged against journalists on social media. Most of these campaigns seem to revolve around journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that annoy Hindutva followers, it said. These campaigns often called for the murder of such journalists.

With the government turning a deaf ear to such campaigns, the frequency of such campaigns has increased manifold over the past year, as journalists such as Rana Ayyub and Ravish Kumar reported first hand. The situation got so out of hand, that the NDTV anchor wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, saying that he felt his life was under threat.

The campaigns take a nasty turn when it is a woman journalist in question. The emergence of a #MeToo movement in the media in 2018 has lifted the veil on many cases of harassment and sexual assault to which women reporters have been subjected

Criminal Prosecutions Against Reporters and Media Houses

The report also talks about how criminal prosecutions are often used to silence journalists critical of the government. Those who don’t play according to the Modi government’s rules are subject to immense pressure from political activists, criminal groups or corrupt local officials.

One such incident occurred recently involving news website The Wire and the Uttar Pradesh Police. The news website ran a story about how the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had attended a public religious gathering in Ayodhya on March 25. This was even after the Prime Minister had announced a nationwide lockdown to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Even though the matter is on public record, an FIR was against the editor of the news website for spreading fake news against Chief Minister Adityanath.

The Editors Guild of India has time and time again called for action against the threat being posed to journalists in India. After several journalists were heckled and attacked by rioters for reporting the recent riots in Delhi, the Guild urged the police to “take necessary steps to provide protection to journalists and prevent any such attack in the future”.

 

A quick look at last year’s report shows that things have only worsened for journalists in India when it comes to their safety.

The report stated last year that "Violence against journalists including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India.”

Looking at events unfolding right now, it only seems that things are getting worse for the Indian media. For a country like India that prides itself on freedom of expression and Right To Information, its lowly ranking on The World Press Freedom Index is something we should be worried about.

Trends

India's World Press Freedom Index Ranking Drops To Record Low, Should We Be Worried?

The World Press Freedom Index is out an India has dropped 2 places. It is now ranked 142 out of 180 countries when it comes to journalistic freedom.

The annual World Press Freedom Index was revealed this week. Sadly India dropped 2 places from its earlier position, ranking a lowly 142 out of 180 countries.

The analysis was done by Reporters Without Borders stated that while no murders of journalists were reported in 2019, as compared to 6 in 2018, the security situation for Indian media has only worsened in the past year.

 

The report held many factors responsible for India’s low position on the index. Constant press violations, police violence against journalists, virulent campaigns against women and pressure on the media to toe the Hindu nationalist government's line were some of them.

What Is The World Press Freedom Index?

Reports Without Borders or Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) is a Paris based non- profit organization. It works to safeguard the right to freedom of information and expression. The organization’s mandate is to promote free and independent journalism, while also protecting the rights of media organizations and personnel.

Its World Press Freedom Index has been published every year since 2002. The Index ranks 180 countries and regions according to the freedom available to journalists in these regions.

A questionnaire-based on quantitative and qualitative analysis is used by the RSF to rank the countries on journalistic freedom. Some of the indicators used for this are:-

  1. Pluralism,
  2. Independence of media
  3. Environmental and self-censorship
  4. Legislative framework
  5. Infrastructure
  6. Transparency
  7. Abuses

What The World Press Freedom Index Says About India

The recently released report is damming in its judgement of the state of Indian media. It recounts the various incidents that have contributed to the low position of India on the World Press Freedom Index.

Lack Of Press Freedom In Kashmir

One of the central tenets revolves around the reaction of the Indian press to the situation unfolding in Kashmir. A communication blackout was imposed shortly after the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year. This made it virtually impossible for journalists to report what was happening on the ground.

Not only this a New York Times report revealed how the Modi government has made it extremely difficult for foreign journalists to get Indian visas. Strict restrictions and bans on conflict regions such as northeast India and Jammu and Kashmir have become common parlance during the BJP regime.

The report ironically comes right when the issue of freedom of expression of Kashmiri journalists is in the news. Recently several Kashmir journalists have been booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and are being questioned by the police for their reporting of events.

Masrat Zahra, a photojournalist from Kashmir is one such victim. A reporter who covers the plight of women and children in Kashmir has had an FIR lodged against her. The FIR states that ‘Masrat Zahra is uploading anti-national posts with criminal intention to induce the youth and to promote offences against public tranquillity’

Targeting Of Journalists

The World Press Freedom Index also noted the coordinated hate campaigns being waged against journalists on social media. Most of these campaigns seem to revolve around journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that annoy Hindutva followers, it said. These campaigns often called for the murder of such journalists.

With the government turning a deaf ear to such campaigns, the frequency of such campaigns has increased manifold over the past year, as journalists such as Rana Ayyub and Ravish Kumar reported first hand. The situation got so out of hand, that the NDTV anchor wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, saying that he felt his life was under threat.

The campaigns take a nasty turn when it is a woman journalist in question. The emergence of a #MeToo movement in the media in 2018 has lifted the veil on many cases of harassment and sexual assault to which women reporters have been subjected

Criminal Prosecutions Against Reporters and Media Houses

The report also talks about how criminal prosecutions are often used to silence journalists critical of the government. Those who don’t play according to the Modi government’s rules are subject to immense pressure from political activists, criminal groups or corrupt local officials.

One such incident occurred recently involving news website The Wire and the Uttar Pradesh Police. The news website ran a story about how the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had attended a public religious gathering in Ayodhya on March 25. This was even after the Prime Minister had announced a nationwide lockdown to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Even though the matter is on public record, an FIR was against the editor of the news website for spreading fake news against Chief Minister Adityanath.

The Editors Guild of India has time and time again called for action against the threat being posed to journalists in India. After several journalists were heckled and attacked by rioters for reporting the recent riots in Delhi, the Guild urged the police to “take necessary steps to provide protection to journalists and prevent any such attack in the future”.

 

A quick look at last year’s report shows that things have only worsened for journalists in India when it comes to their safety.

The report stated last year that "Violence against journalists including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India.”

Looking at events unfolding right now, it only seems that things are getting worse for the Indian media. For a country like India that prides itself on freedom of expression and Right To Information, its lowly ranking on The World Press Freedom Index is something we should be worried about.

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