UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – World Press Freedom Index
Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries. The index is compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders based on the own assessment of the countries’ press freedom records in the previous year by the organization.
- 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.
- The intent of the index is to reflect the degree of freedom that news organizations, netizens and journalists have in each of the countries, and the efforts made by authorities to respect this freedom.
- It is worth noting that the World Press Freedom Index deals only with press freedom and does not measure the quality of journalism nor does it look at human rights violations in general.
World Press Freedom Index 2018
- India, the largest democracy in the world, slipped again this year by two ranks to 138th in World Press Freedom Index.
- The report cites “self-censorship in the mainstream media” and “online smear campaigns” against journalists by the “most radical nationalists” as reasons behind its downfall.
- India stood at 136 in 2017, down from 133 in 2016.
- Afghanistan (118th), Bhutan (94th), Nepal (106th), Maldives (120th), and Sri Lanka (131st), all performed better than India with Pakistan (139th) and Bangladesh (146th) performing worse.
Reasons for India’s poor ranking:
- The murder of journalist-turned-activist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru and other indicators such as hate speeches, trolling on social media and attacks on journalists.
- Self-censorship is growing in the mainstream media and journalists are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by the most radical nationalists, who vilify them and even threaten physical reprisals.
- Coverage of regions that the authorities regard as sensitive, such as Kashmir, continues to be very difficult. In addition, the foreign reporters are barred from the region and the Internet there is often disconnected.
- In the 180-strong list of nations, Norway and North Korea retained their positions as number 1 and number 180 respectively.
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