Vidya Ram

India ranks low on press freedom

Vidya Ram London | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on February 12, 2014

According to the index, Kashmir and Chhattisgarh continue to be the only two places in India where violence and censorship against journalists are endemic.

Remains above Pakistan and China, but well below Nepal, Ukraine and Afghanistan

Press freedom in India remains among the worst in the world, according to the latest report by an international media think-tank. Paris-based Reporters Without Borders ranked India 140th out of 180 in its 2014 index — a place above its 2013 spot, but a sharp drop from 2012, when it held the 131st spot.

Of the five classifications ranging from “good” to “very serious,” India fell into the “difficult” second from the bottom category. While India remains above Pakistan (158th) and China (175th), it remains well below Nepal (120th), politically-troubled Ukraine (127th) and Afghanistan (128th).

The report cited the large number of deaths — eight journalists and one media worker in India in 2013 — twice as high as in 2012 and a larger than the figure in Pakistan. “Criminal organisations, security forces, demonstrators and armed groups all pose a threat to India’s journalists,” said the think-tank, adding that a lack of action by local and Central Government authorities heightened the problem.

The think-tank also pointed to restrictions routinely put in place in Kashmir on all kinds of media outlets including the social media.

The report emerges a day after it emerged that Penguin India would be withdrawing all copies of Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus: An Alternative History from the Indian market. The annual rankings are based on a mix of questionnaires sent to NGOs, journalists, and media observers in each country and region, covering issues ranging from media independence, self censorship and transparency, as well as figures on media attacks and censorship.

While Finland remained at the top of the league, the US fell sharply, down 13 places to 46th, following the pressures put on journalists, which went beyond the pursuit of the former NSA analyst Edward Snowden, and included instances such as the seizure of Association Press phone records relating to a story on CIA’s plans to foil a terrorist attack.

As a result of the pressures put on The Guardian newspaper by the British Government, that country fell to 33rd place.

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Published on February 12, 2014
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