India slips three places in World Press Freedom Index

WrittenBy:NL Team

India ranks 136 on the latest World Press Freedom Index, a report published by Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders). India fell three positions from its previous year’s ranking of 133. It is now placed under “difficult situation” group along with Pakistan (139) and Afghanistan (120).

Under the subhead ‘Threat from Modi’s Nationalists’, the report said, “With Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ thought from the national debate, self-censorship is growing in the mainstream media. Journalists are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by the most radical nationalists, who vilify them and even threaten physical reprisals.”

The report also mentions tough conditions faced by journalists in the tense state of Jammu and Kashmir. It goes on to state, “Coverage of regions that the authorities regard as sensitive, such as Kashmir, continues to be very difficult, and there are no protective mechanisms. On the first day of a wave of protests in Kashmir in July 2016, the Internet was cut by the military and was often interrupted thereafter to prevent communication between protesters and prevent coverage by the media and citizen journalists. Journalists working for local media outlets are often the targets of violence by soldiers acting with the central government’s tacit consent.”

Britain and the United States have also slipped to 40th and 43rd positions respectively, both two positions lower than last year. On the slip in US’ position, the report states, “US press freedom, enshrined in the First Amendment to the 1787 constitution, has encountered several major obstacles over the past few years, most recently with the election of President Donald Trump. He has declared the press an ‘enemy of the American people’ in a series of verbal attacks toward journalists while attempting to block White House access to multiple media outlets in retaliation for critical reporting.”

Norway climbed two steps to take over the first position, which was earlier held by Finland (3) for the past six years. While the hermit nation, North Korea (180), found itself ranked the worst country on the index. No surprises there.


We take comments from subscribers only!  Subscribe now to post comments! 
Already a subscriber?  Login

You may also like