India’s position on the World Press Freedom Index

What is the News?

India’s ranking in the 2022 World Press Freedom Index has fallen to 150 out of 180 countries.

What is the World Press Freedom Index?

Released by: Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

Click Here to read more about the index

Note: RSF is an international NGO whose self-proclaimed aim is to defend and promote media freedom. It is headquartered in Paris, France. It has consultative status with the United Nations. 

What does the index say about India under various indicators?

Political Context: Originally a product of the anti-colonial movement, the Indian press used to be seen as fairly progressive, but things changed radically in the mid-2010s when Narendra Modi became prime minister and engineered a spectacular rapprochement between BJP and the big families dominating the media.

Legal framework: Indian law is protective in theory but charges of defamation, sedition, contempt of court and endangering national security are increasingly used against journalists critical of the government.

Economic Context: The media outlets largely depend on advertising contracts with governments. At the national level, the central government has exploited media to impose its own narrative and is now spending more than ₹130 billion (5 billion euros) a year on ads in print and online media alone.

Socio-cultural indicators: The enormous diversity of Indian society is barely reflected in the mainstream media. For the most part, only Hindu men from upper castes hold senior positions in journalism or are media executives ­— a bias that is reflected in media content.

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s position on the World Press Freedom Index” published in The Hindu on 5th May 2022. 

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