Saturday, January 28, 2023

World Press Freedom Index 2022: India slips 8 places to 150th position

India has slipped 8 places on the World Press Freedom Index 2022. With a global score of 41, India has gone down to the 150th position from 142 last year, a TOI report stated.
The index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on May 3, which is observed as the World Press Freedom Day, assesses the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories.
Among India’s prominent neighbours, both Pakistan and China are way below on the index. Pakistan with a global score of 37.99 is at 157th position, while China with a score of 25.17 is at 175th spot. Bhutan with a score of 76.46 is at the 33rd position, the best in the region. The worst performer is North Korea with a global score of 13.92.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and nine other human rights organizations have asked Indian authorities to stop targeting journalists and online critics for their work. They also asked authorities to stop prosecuting journalists and critics under counterterrorism and sedition laws. A report titled: “India: Media freedom under threat” on RSF website urged Indian authorities to respect the right to freedom of expression and release any journalists detained on trumped-up or politically motivated charges for their critical reporting and also stop targeting journalists and muzzling independent media.
The report says authorities have arrested journalists on spurious terrorism and sedition charges, and have routinely targeted critics and independent news organizations, including raiding their workplaces.
“Journalists and online critics also risk prosecution under the Information Technology Act and IT Rules of 2021 for content critical of the authorities,” it adds.
The report further states that frequent internet shutdowns hamper the ability of journalists to do their work, including accessing and disseminating information online.
The authorities’ targeting of journalists, coupled with a broader crackdown on dissent, has emboldened Hindu nationalists to threaten, harass, and abuse journalists critical of the Indian government, both online and offline, with impunity, the groups have said.
“These restrictions on media freedom come amid an escalating crackdown on civil society by the BJP-led government, which is using sedition, counterterrorism, and national security laws to target and prosecute human rights activists, students, government critics, and peaceful protesters. Journalists from minority groups and those in Jammu and Kashmir are particularly at risk,” the groups allege.

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