India Slips To 161 Position Out Of 180 In World Press Freedom Index

India’s ranking has fallen to 161 in the World Press Freedom Index-2023 in the list 180 countries. It is for the second year India is slipping in the ranking. According to the report by global media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) alias Reporters without Borders, India is down 11 points in the index this year. The situation has gone from “problematic’’ to ‘very bad’ in three countries, including India and Tajikistan, it added.

World Press Freedom Index 2023 is revealed by the overseer of Media Industry, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). This is the 21st edition of the annual report, according to which, Norway acquired the topmost position whereas the lowest was North Korea. Norway has a self-regulated press and it is for the 7th time that this Northern European Country remained dominant.

Reporters Without Borders is a non-profit organisation that examined 180 nations across the world and highlighted their working conditions in terms of Journalism and Mass Media. India has shown a disheartening performance in the index as it got a poor global score of 36.62.

Picture : Human Rights Watch

In its annual report, the Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) assessed the state of freedom for media countries. In 2021, India’s ranking was 150, down from a ranking of 142 on the press freedom index. The report also stated that violence against journalists, the politically partisan media and the concentration of media ownership all demonstrate that press freedom is in crisis in the world’s largest democracy.

The RSF released the report on Wednesday with details of media freedom collected from across 180 countries. Pakistan is ranked at 150, seven points up, while Nepal is at 95. Sri Lanka is up 11 points at 135, while Myanmar at 173 has moved 3 points higher. The report has stated that the Indian media landscape is like India itself–huge and densely populated–and has more than 1,00,000 newspapers including 36,000 weeklies, and 380 TV channels.

“Originally a product of the anti-colonial movement, the India press sued to be seen as fairly progressive, but things changed radically when Narendra Modi became prime minister and engineered a spectacular rapprochement between his party, the BJP and the big families dominating the media.”

In 2022, India reached the 150th rank and now it lost 11 positions to get down to 161 which is quite bad for the journalism environment. RSS is of the view that the situation is worse than it seems. The organisation evaluated the situation as “very serious” in 31 countries and “difficult” in 42.

Not only this, the status of the press is termed as “problematic” across 55 nations and “good” or “satisfactory” in 52. Only 3 out of 10 nations reveal satisfactory results in the worldwide record of 2023.

The report said that Mukesh Ambani owns more than 70 media outlets across India that are followed by at least 800 million Indians. “Indian journalists who are too critical of the government are subjected to all-out harassment and attack campaigns”, the report stated.

It further said: “At the national level, the Central government has seen that it can exploit this to impose its own narrative, and is now spending more than 130 billion rupees a year on ads in the print and online media alone.”

The list focuses on the quality of the mass media environment around the globe which has declined in the past few years. It explains disturbances and changes that are simultaneously occurring in the Media Industry. These revolutions can be social, political and technological considering today’s scenario.

World Press Freedom Day was held on May 03 (Wednesday) this year and the report of the global rankings was also published on the same day. India got the 161st position out of all 180 countries that were given global scores as well.

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