Yesterday was World Press Freedom Day. Among the flurry of reports on how journalists are often attacked, threatened and killed for their work, Reporters Without Borders released its annual World Press Freedom Index for 2022.
India from 2021's rank of 142 to 150 out of 180 countries. Reporters Without Borders warned that press freedom in India is "in crisis" and that India is "one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the media".
The index is a contentious issue in India – in February, the government it "does not subscribe to its views and country rankings and does not agree to the conclusions drawn by this organisation".
Given that, did the index find place in today's English newspapers? We took a look at a few of them.
The Indian Express in Delhi did not report on the index at all.
The Hindustan Times had a brief piece on page 2 in Delhi, noting that India had been classified as "bad" for journalists. It also added that I&B minister Anurag Thakur had previously said the government did not subscribe to the index's findings.
The Hindu in Chennai had a single column on India's rank on page 14. The report led with the fact that the Press Club of India and the Indian Women Press Corps had issued a statement on growing attacks on press freedom in the country.
The Chennai edition of the Times of India had a report at the top of page 6 – the "Times Nation" page – quoting in detail from Reporters Without Borders' findings.
"Very early on, Modi took a critical stance vis-à-vis journalists, seeing them as 'intermediaries' polluting the direct relationship between himself and his supporters," it quoted the report as saying.
The Delhi edition of Times of India also carried the report on page 14.
The New Indian Express took the curious decision of carrying an AFP report on the index that entirely skipped what the index had to say about India. The report was on the last page of its Chennai edition, headlined "Hong Kong dives towards bottom of press freedom ranking".
"Hong Kong has plummeted down an international press freedom chart as authorities have wielded a draconian new security law to silence critical news outlets and jail journalists..." the report said
The New Indian Express did not otherwise report on India's rank in the index.
The Telegraph had a report on page 1 and, in its usual fashion, carried the headline "Well done, Modi! Godi rank: 150". "This is a big plunge from the 142nd rank last year," the report said, "marking the sharpest drop in the downward trajectory the country has been on for some years now."
Continuing the report on page 4, Telegraph quoted on what the index said about Modi's "critical stance" towards journalists and the "concentration" of media ownership.