India slipped 11 places down in the World Press Freedom Index 2023 this year, ranking 160 out of 180 countries. The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published the World Press Freedom Index on Wednesday, assessing the state of journalism in 180 countries. This is the second consecutive year when India’s ranking had slipped further from the previous year. In the year 2021, India ranked 142 on the press freedom index which came down to 150 last year.
As per the report, “The violence against journalists, the politically partisan media and the concentration of media ownership all demonstrate that press freedom is in crisis in “the world’s largest democracy”, ruled since 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the embodiment of the Hindu nationalist right.”
The RSF published the World Press Freedom Index on Wednesday, assessing the state of journalism in 180 countries.
In comparison to India, Pakistan ranked 150, seven places up while Nepal lost 19 places and was placed at number 95.
Sri Lanka moved 11 points up and ranked 135 while junta-ruled Myanmar, moving 3 points up, was at 173, lower than India.
World Press Freedom Day is observed every year on May 3. The World Press Freedom Index highlights the degree of freedom that journalists and news organisations have in each country.
According to the report, there are more than 100,000 newspapers (including 36,000 weeklies) and 380 TV news channels currently operating in the country. Since January 1, 2023 one journalist was killed in the country while 10 journalists are behind bars.
“With an average of three or four journalists killed in connection with their work every year, India is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the media,” the report stated.
Journalists are exposed to all kinds of physical violence including police violence, ambushes by political activists, and deadly reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt local officials, it added.
On safety of journalists, the RSF report said that terrifying coordinated campaigns of hatred and calls for murder are conducted on social media.
“Such campaigns are often even more violent when they target women journalists, whose personal data may be posted online as an additional incitement to violence,” the report said.
Nordic countries like Norway, Ireland, and Denmark ranked top three respectively while Vietnam, China, and North Korea were the bottom three countries on the index.
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