Vineet Jain should not blame the BJP alone for the state of press freedom in India

WrittenBy:NL Team

Vineet Jain tweeted his disappointment with the Bharatiya Janata Party today for not being able to improve India’s position on the Press Freedom Index.

As statements go, this is a pretty strong one considering Jain is managing director of one of India’s largest media houses, The Times Group. Except for the tiny detail that two of his news outlets, The Times of India and The Economic Times, had deleted the Press Freedom report from their websites last year.

In 2017, the Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders) stated that India fell three positions from the previous year’s ranking of 133 and was now placed in the “difficult situation” group along with Pakistan (139) and Afghanistan (120). It stated that: “Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ thought from the national debate, self-censorship is growing in the mainstream media”. TOI’s headline stated: “Threat from Modi’s nationalism” — this was a subhead in the report. However, both TOI and ET pulled their reports down without offering any explanation showing us how self-censorship works. Clearly, the blame for India’s underperformance doesn’t rest solely with the government of the day.


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