World Press Freedom Index 2020 - Reporters Sans Frontieres

The World Press Freedom Index is published by an international NGO, ‘Reporters Sans Frontieres’ or ‘Reporters without Borders.’ The latest edition of the index is World Press Freedom Index 2020. India has ranked 142 out of 180 countries in the 2020 index. In World Press Freedom Index 2019, India ranked 140, hence slipping by 2 positions in the latest index. To keep up with the IAS Exam, it is important to know the following:

  1. What is the World Press Freedom Index all about?
  2. What is Reporters Sans Frontieres?
  3. Which country has the most press freedom?
  4. Which county has the least press freedom?
  5. Where do the top developed countries rank in World Press Freedom Index?
  6. What has been India’s Performance in the World Press Freedom Index?

Aspirants would find this article very helpful while preparing for the IAS Exam.

What is the World Press Freedom Index?

As the name suggests, the World Press Freedom Index is a list of rankings generated by the international NGO, ‘Reporters Sans Frontieres,’ which is based out of Paris. This index ranks 180 countries over the level of freedom enjoyed by the media of the respective countries. It is an annual index. The latest one is the World Press Freedom Index 2020.

India’s Performance Analysis in World Press Freedom Index

  • Reasons Behind Decline in India’s Performance:
    • Pressure on the media to accept the nationalist government’s Hindu line.
    • The “coordinated hate campaigns” waged on social networks against journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that annoy Hindutva followers. The campaigns are particularly severe when the targets are women.
  • Improved Security of Journalists: With no murders of journalists in India in 2019, as against six in 2018, the security situation for the country’s media might seem, on the face of it, to have improved.
  • Press Freedom Violations: There have been constant press freedom violations that include police violence against journalists, ambushes by political activists, and attacks instigated by criminal groups or corrupt local officials.

What is Reporters Sans Frontieres?

An international NGO, Reporter Sans Frontieres, also known as Reporters without Borders, is based out of Paris. This NGO publishes the World Press Freedom Index annually. The Reporter Sans Frontieres has consultative status with the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, and theInternational Organization of the Francophonie (OIF). The NGO published the first World Press Freedom Index in 2002 and since then, it annually published the index ranking 180 countries. The parameters used by the Reporters Without Borders to rank countries on this index are:

  • Pluralism
  • Media independence
  • Media environment and self-censorship
  • Legislative framework
  • Transparency, and
  • Infrastructure quality that supports the production of news and information

Aspirants can read similar notes on other world indices that are mentioned in the linked articles below:

Which country has the most press freedom?

The table below lists the top 10 countries that ranked in World Press Freedom Index 2019 and 2020:

World Press Freedom Index 2019 World Press Freedom Index 2020
Norway Norway
Finland Finland
Sweden Denmark
Netherlands Sweden
Denmark Netherlands
Switzerland Jamaica
New Zealand Costa Rica
Jamaica Switzerland
Belgium New Zealand
Costa Rica Portugal

Which country has the least press freedom?

The table below lists the bottom 5 countries that ranked in World Press Freedom Index 2019 and 2020:

World Press Freedom Index 2019 World Press Freedom Index 2020
Turkmenistan North Korea
North Korea Turkmenistan
Eritrea Eritrea
China China
Vietnam Djibouti

Where do the major developed countries rank in World Press Freedom Index?

World Press Freedom Rankings of developed countries like USA, Japan, China, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, Australia, and Iceland  are given below for the year 2019 and 2020:

World Press Freedom Index 2019 World Press Freedom Index 2020
USA – 48 USA – 45
Japan – 67 Japan – 66
China – 177 China – 177
United Kingdom – 33 United Kingdom – 35
Germany – 13 Germany – 11
Russia – 149 Russia – 149
Australia – 21 Australia – 26
Iceland –  14 Iceland – 15

India’s Performance in World Press Freedom Index

India’s performance in World Press Freedom Indices for the year 2018, 2019 and 2020 are given below:

  • India ranked 142 in the World Press Freedom Index 2020
  • India ranked 140 in the World Press Freedom Index 2019
  • India ranked 138 in the World Press Freedom Index 2018

Does India have freedom of the press?

Indian Constitution does not explicitly mention freedom of the press. Article 19 of the Consitution provides freedom of expression to every citizen of India. Hence we can implicitly conclude that India has freedom of the press.

What is meant by Freedom of Press?

Freedom of the press is the right to circulate opinions without any kind of censorship.

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