Worrying Sign: India Slips 2 Places In Press Freedom Index, Ranked 140 Out Of 180 Countries
A new report accumulated by Reporters Without Border (RSF), placed India at 140th spot out of the total 180 countries based on the state of journalism in the country, reported Newscentral. Reporters Without Border promotes and defends the freedom to be informed and to inform others throughout the world.
The current report points at the transformation of hatred into violence towards journalists leading to significant rise in fear among journalists working in India. India has lost two ranks from the previous year, as the mob violence and direct threat to journalist unraveling the truth has increased. According to the press watchdog, at least six journalists were murdered in 2018. The RSF report further assimilated that countries which were considered to be safe for journalists have deteriorated over the course of time as the authoritarian regimes have started taking control over the media.
Criticising Hindu nationalism is equal to national
Stressing on India’s deteriorating condition of journalists working, the report mentioned that the online harassment against those who criticise Hindu nationalism are labelled with “anti-Indian” (or anti-nationals). The growing instance of online harassment are particularly aimed at women journalists to suppress their voices. Countries like Afghanistan, Myanmar, Malaysia, Maldives and Palestine ranked better than India, thus proving to provide a safe working environment for journalists. Criminal defamation, death threats over call, and sedition law also finds a mention in the report which is actively trying to gag the media. Apart from these, foreign journalist not given permission to enter Kashmir has also been mentioned in the report.
Outlining the condition of Kashmiri journalists, the report states, “ When not detained, Kashmiri journalists working for local media outlets are often the targets of violence by paramilitaries acting with the central government’s tacit consent.” Recently, Rana Ayyub, one of the independent journalist from India is placed in Times report – 10 Journalists Now Facing the ‘Most Urgent’ Threats to Press Freedom Around the World.
Politicians hostile against journalists leads to violation
RSF referring to the journalists killed in India states that these murders show the real image what the Indian journalists face. It further said that journalist working for the regional channel or websites are the worst victim in this mishap. The report further claimed that the attacks by the supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi against journalists continues to rise ahead of the general elections 2019. The report also talks about how these violent attacks, threats, insults have now become a part of the “occupational hazards” for journalists across countries. This brings out the true picture of how the environment of safe reporting has deteriorated. Politicians expressing hostility against journalists have turned the situation more rancour. The Asia-Pacific region was ranked third from the last due to increasing censorship, intimidation, physical violence, online harassment, totalitarian propaganda in these countries.