India drops two ranks on the global press freedom index in the yearly Reporters without Borders analysis.
India was at 140th place out of 180 countries in 2019. The World Press Freedom Index 2020 said that with no murders of journalists in India in 2019, as opposed to six in 2018, the security condition for the country’s media might seem to have improved superficially.
These murders highlight the many threats that Indian journalists confront, especially by those working for non-English-language media outlets in rural areas, it said. Attacks against journalists by supporters of the ruling party, BJP increased in the run-up to general elections in the spring of 2019, the analysis alleged.
“However, there have been constant press freedom violations, including police violence against journalists, ambushes by political activists, and reprisals instigated by criminal groups or corrupt local officials,” it said.
It associated the decline to “pressure on the media to toe the Hindu nationalist government’s line.”
The “coordinated hate campaigns” waged on social networking sites against journalists who dare to speak up or write on issues that trigger and irritate Hindutva followers are “alarming”, it said.
“The campaigns are particularly virulent when the targets are women,” it said.
South Asia has poorly performed on the Index. Pakistan dropped three places to 145th and Bangladesh dropped to 151st place.
Norway ranked first in the Index for the fourth consecutive year. China stands at 177th position, just two ranks above North Korea, which is at 179th. Turkmenistan is at 180th, which is the last spot