Red mark on freedom of press in India

India ranked 139 out of 180 countries in press freedom index in a report published by Reporters Without Borders. In fact, India’s ranking has gone down by three points since 2016

Photo by Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
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NH Web Desk

India, the largest democracy in the world, may claim to have a free press; however, in terms of freedom of the press, its performance continues to be dismal. It ranks 136 out of 180 countries, said a report published by Reporters Without Borders (RWB). In fact, India’s ranking has gone down by three points since 2016.

The report says that the “rising tide of nationalism around the World – exemplified by US President Donald Trump – is a big threat to freedom of the press in many democracies” including India.

Image courtesy: Reporters Without Borders
Image courtesy: Reporters Without Borders
The map of the Press Freedom shows that India is in the red zone and the press faces a “difficult situation” in the country. The situation in China is even worse 

It is worth recalling that – since the Modi government took charge – India has seen a rise of nationalism, which according to analysts has undermined many institutions developed over the years, including free press.

While India fell three points down from its previous position, Pakistan climbed to 139 by gaining eight points in this year. It is more surprising, perhaps sad also that countries like Afghanistan, Burma, Qatar and the UAE rank higher than India.

The purpose behind releasing press freedom index is to “highlight the danger of a tipping point in the state of media freedom, especially in leading democratic countries”, according to RWB.

Norway ranks at number one and North Korea is right at the bottom of the list. In terms of freedom of the press, the United States ranks at 43 and the United Kingdom at 40. Ranking of both the countries tipped down by two points in a year’s time.

“The obsession with surveillance and violations of the right to the confidentiality of sources have contributed to the continuing decline of many countries previously regarded as virtuous,” read the report.

Image courtesy: Reporters Without Borders
Image courtesy: Reporters Without Borders
The table shows media freedom in different regions of the world in descending order

Reporters Without Borders (RWB) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organisation that promotes and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press. The organisation, with its head office in Paris, has consultant status at the United Nations.

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Published: 28 Apr 2017, 3:08 PM
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