|Introduction: Contextual introduction.|
Body: Write the significance of the index. Write some measures to improve ranking in this index.
Conclusion: Way forward.
Media plays an important role in connecting people to the government and vice versa and also gives voice to the voiceless. Media is called as the Fourth Pillar of Indian Democracy because of the role played by it in laying the foundation of democracy. According to the latest report released by Reporters Without Borders, India’s ranking in the World Press Freedom Index has fallen down to 150th position in 2022 from 142nd rank in 2021.
- It provides insight into the legislative and regulatory environment for journalists such as the degree to which journalists and media are free to work without censorship or judicial sanctions.
- This index evaluates the degree of media autonomy vis-à-vis political pressure which guides the countries to set professional standards for the media.
- It highlights the economic constraints linked to governmental policies such as the difficulty of creating a news media outlet, favouritism in the allocation of state subsidies and corruption.
Measures to improve ranking:
- Although India has the Press Council of India and specific regulations, the country needs more detailed law regarding the media to protect not only the freedom of expression and speech but also journalists’ safety.
- The government should pursue decriminalizing the offence of defamation in the IPC and carry out a review of various colonial laws impacting press freedom in India.
- A time-bound investigation and filing of charge sheets by police authorities to be made mandatory in matters related to journalistic expression.
- There is a need to establish independent press councils, media watch groups, ombudsmen, and other media self‐regulatory bodies autonomous from the government.
- should lay guidelines for the frequent internet shutdowns and promote scientifically verifiable facts rather than misinformation on the digital platforms.
If the freedom of the press is ensured, people will be able to exercise their rights and duties without fear and it is also vital for a democratic and pluralist country. For this, making Index Monitoring Cell under the aegis of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is a right step.