India falls in the 150th position on World Press Freedom Index out of 180 countries. The position has fallen since last year’s 142nd rank.
World Press Freedom Index
As per the reports from Global Media Watchdog, India and neighbours – Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar ranking has also fallen considerably. In comparison, India’s closest neighbour Nepal has climbed by 30 points since last year.
This year, the first rank has been occupied by Norway, followed by Denmark, Sweden, Estonia and Finland. At the bottom of the list lies North Korea.
According to a statement released by an International non-profit organisation, “On the World Press Freedom Day, Reporters without borders and nine other human rights organisations ask Indian Authorities to stop targeting journalists and online critics for their work”.
Many have commented that India should respect freedom of speech and expression and thereby must release journalists who are detained on charges of critical reporting. The Reporters Sans Frontieres further said that “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 Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India and Press Association stated that Indian journalists have been booked under draconian laws for reasons such as expressing their views and opinions. They also said that the judgement of their lives comes from ‘self-styled custodian of law’ from social media.