India, one of the most dangerous countries for the media, ranks 150th in the press freedom index
India’s already poor ranking in the World Press Freedom Index has worsened further, with the country falling 8 places from the previous year.
According to the World Press Freedom Index released on World Press Freedom Day (May 3), India ranks 150 out of 180 countries.
Norway (1st), Denmark (2nd), Sweden (3rd), Estonia (4th) and Finland (5th) grabbed the top spots, while North Korea remained at the bottom of the list of 180 countries and territories classified by Reporters Without Borders.
Stop attacking journalists
With regard to India, the report states: “On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Without Borders and nine other human rights organizations call on Indian authorities to stop targeting journalists and online critics for their work“, said the international non-profit organization in a statement posted on its website.
“Specifically, they should stop prosecuting them under the anti-terrorism and sedition laws,” he added.
He said Indian authorities should respect the right to freedom of expression and release all journalists detained on false or politically motivated charges for their critical reporting and stop targeting them and muzzling independent media.
Journalists should not have to risk their lives
“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, online and offline, with impunity,” he said. he declared.
“Authorities should also carry out prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations into allegations of threats and attacks against journalists and critics, including by government officials,” RSF said, adding that “journalists should not have to risk their freedom and their lives to do their job. »
According to the Index prepared by Reporters Without Borders, “Violence against journalists, politically partisan media and the concentration of media ownership all demonstrate that press freedom is in crisis in ‘the world’s largest democracy.’‘, led since 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of the BJP and embodiment of the Hindu nationalist right.
The report notes that India has more than a million newspapers, including 36,000 weeklies and 380 TV news channels, but this “abundance of media hides tendencies towards concentration of ownership”.
Violence against journalists
The report says journalists are exposed to all kinds of physical violence, including police violence, ambushes by political activists and deadly reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt local officials.
“Supporters of Hindutva, the ideology that gave birth to the Hindu far right, launch online attacks against all views that conflict with their thinking. Terrifying coordinated campaigns of hatred and Killing calls are waged on social media, campaigns that are often even more violent when targeting female journalists, whose personal data may be published online as further incitement to violence,” the report states.
“The situation is also still very worrying in Kashmir, where reporters are often harassed by the police and paramilitaries, some being held in so-called ‘provisional’ detention for several years,” he added.
Most of India’s neighbors also fared poorly in this year’s ranking.
Pakistan was in 157th position, Sri Lanka in 146th, Bangladesh in 162nd and Maynmar in 176th position and China moved up two positions this year to reach 175th place.
Nepal was the best performing country in the region with a global ranking at 76th position. Last year, the Himalayan nation was placed in the 106th position.
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