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Freedom of Press in India

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    11th May, 2022

Context

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) had on the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) i.e. 3rd May, published the 20th edition of the World Press Freedom Index.

Background

  • Every year since 2002, Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) or Reporter Without Borders, publishes World Freedom Index.
  • This year RSF published the 20th edition of World Press Freedom Index.
  • India stood at 150th position amongst 180 countries in the Index published this year i.e. 2022.

World Press Freedom Day:

  • UN General Assembly in the year 1993 had adopted a resolution to observe 3rd May every year as World Press Freedom Day.
  • It was also on the same day that UNESCO had adopted the Windhoek Declaration is aimed at development of a Free, Independent and Pluralistic Press.
  • Theme of World Press Freedom Day 2022 was “Journalism under Digital Siege”.

What is World Press Freedom Index?

  • Published every year since 2002 by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the World Press Freedom Index is an important advocacy tool based on the principle of emulation among states. 
  • Reporters Without Borders: is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization with the stated aim of safeguarding the right to freedom of information.
  • It describes its advocacy as founded on the belief that everyone requires access to the news and information, in line with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rightsthat recognizes the right to receive and share information regardless of frontiers, along with other international rights charters.
  • RSF has consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, and the International Organisation of the Francophonie.
  • The Index ranks 180 countries and regions according to the level of freedom available to journalists.
  • It is a snapshot of the media freedom situation based on an evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework and safety of journalists in each country and region.

What is the Scoring Criteria?

  • The Index’s rankings arebased on a score ranging from 0 to 100 that is assigned to each country or territory, with 100 being the best possible score (the highest possible level of press freedom) and 0 the worst.

What criteria are taken into consideration for evaluating Press Freedom of any country?

  • Press Freedom of any countries is evaluated using the following criteria:
  • Political context
  • Legal framework
  • Economic context
  • Sociocultural context
  • Safety

What are the finding of World Press Freedom Index 2022?

  • It has been stated in the report of the index that there has been two fold increase in the polarisation of media which is a cause for creation of division inside the countries and amongst the countries at international level.

Who are the top performers according to this Index?

  • Norway (1st Rank)
  • Denmark (2nd Rank)
  • Sweden (3rd Rank)
  • Estonia (4th Rank)
  • Finland (5th Rank)

Which country lies to the bottom?

  • North Korea stood at Rank 180 i.e. at the bottom of the table.
  • Russia on the other hand stood at 155th

What is the position of India and its neighbours on the Index?

  • As per the Press Freedom Index, 2022, India has slipped from 142nd to 150th
  • The index has placed Pakistan at 157thposition, Sri Lanka 146th, Bangladesh 162nd and Myanmar at 176th
  • While China stands at 175th

What have been the reasons for the fall of India’s position in Press Freedom Index?

  • India’s position has consistently fallen on the Press Freedom Index since 2013 when it was placed on 133rd
  • Reasons for India’s poor performance on the Press Freedom Index are:
  • Increased violence against journalism
  • Rise in politically partisan media.

Practice Question

Q1. India’s ranking on Press Freedom Index reflects the growing threat to freedom of press. Examine. Also, discuss what reforms are required to ensure media functions effectively as the fourth pillar of democracy?

Q2. Critically examine the role played by media in facilitating good governance. 

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