Out of 180 countries, India's rank on 2019 World Press Freedom index slips to 140.

As compared to the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, India has slipped down two spots on the annual report compiled by Reporters Without Borders.

India has slipped down two spots on the 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). An annual report, the index is an indicator of how hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence in countries across the world. In its report, RSF has asserted that authoritarian regimes in different parts of the globe continue to tighten their grip on the media which has led to an environment of fear.


India made its debut on this index in 2013 at 140 out of 180 countries. The rankings gradually improved, reaching 136 in 2017. However, the ranking has since slipped back to 140 in the 2019 index. The report claims that violence against journalists, including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters and retaliation by corrupt politicians and criminal outfits is the current state of press freedom in India.

Six Indian journalists were reportedly killed in the year 2018 owing to their work. Clarity has been sought over the death of a seventh journalist who died in the line of duty. RSF further clarified that the report highlights dangers faced by scribes, especially the ones working for regional media outlets in rural areas of the country. "Attacks against journalists by supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased in the run-up to general elections in the spring of 2019," said the report in addition to stating that foreign journalists are barred from Kashmir where internet shutdowns occur almost daily.

In addition, the report also asserts that female journalists in India are targeted on social media through the means of coordinated hate campaigns and even receive threats of rape and murder. Journalists who criticise the authorities are often threatened with criminal prosecution and even gagged with Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Christophe Deloire, secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders said, "If the political debate slides surreptitiously or openly towards a civil war-style atmosphere, in which journalists are treated as scapegoats, then democracy is in great danger."

However, the report did not mention a landmark decision taken by Indian courts to award life imprisonment to Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS) chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan for the murder of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati. The accused is the head of a religious sect which claims to have 60 million followers worldwide. He was serving a 20-year life term for raping two of his female disciples. (Source: timesnow)

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