India has dropped to two places on the World Press Freedom Index, 2020 to be ranked 142nd out of 180 countries.
Norway is ranked first in the Index for the fourth year running.
South Asia in general features poorly on the index, with Pakistan dropping three places to 145, and Bangladesh dropping one place to 151.
China at 177th position is just three places above North Korea, which is at 180th.
Impact of Covid-19 on Journalism: The coming decade will be decisive for the future of journalism, with the Covid-19 pandemic highlighting and amplifying the many crises that threaten the right to freely reported, independent, diverse and reliable information.
India’s Performance Analysis
Reasons Behind Decline in India’s Performance:
Pressure on the media to accept the nationalist government’s Hindu line.
The “coordinated hate campaigns” waged on social networks against journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that annoy Hindutva followers. The campaigns are particularly severe when the targets are women.
Improved Security of Journalists: With no murders of journalists in India in 2019, as against six in 2018, the security situation for the country’s media might seem, on the face of it, to have improved.
Press Freedom Violations: There have been constant press freedom violations that include police violence against journalists, ambushes by political activists, and attacks instigated by criminal groups or corrupt local officials.
World Press Freedom Index
It has been published every year since 2002 by Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) or Reporters Without Borders.
Based in Paris, RSF is an independent NGO with consultative status with the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF).
OIF is a 54 french speaking nations collective.The Index ranks 180 countries and regions according to the level of freedom available to journalists.
The parameters include pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, and the quality of the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information.