Data | India’s press freedom ranking slips to 150, its lowest ever

In the 2022 edition of the Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, India ranked at the 150th position, eight positions lower than last year

May 05, 2022 06:18 pm | Updated 08:15 pm IST

Freedom of the press is at risk concept - World press freedom day concept

Freedom of the press is at risk concept - World press freedom day concept | Photo Credit: weerapatkiatdumrong

In the 2022 edition of the Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, India fell to the 150th position, its lowest ever, out of 180 countries. In the last edition, India was ranked eight positions higher, at 142. The ranking is based on a country’s performance in five broad categories: political context, legal framework, economic context, sociocultural context and safety of journalists. Of the five, India’s ranking was lowest in the safety of journalists category (163) and best in the legal framework category (120)

A drop to 150

The chart shows the rankings of 180 countries in the 2022 Press Freedom Index. India has been ranked 150. Countries ranked lower than India include Sudan (151), Russia (155), Pakistan (157), Bangladesh (162) and China (175)

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Across categories

The chart shows India’s rankings across various categories in 2022. India ranked best in the legal framework category and worst in the safety of journalists category. The definition of each category is expanded in the bottom

New low

The chart shows India’s rank in the Press Freedom Index. While India has ranked consistently low over the past few years, its rank in 2022 plunged to the lowest the country has ever seen

Political context

  • The degree of support and respect for media autonomy vis-à-vis political pressure from the state or from other political actors
  • The level of acceptance of a variety of journalistic approaches satisfying professional standards, including politically aligned approaches and independent approaches
  • The degree of support for the media in their role of holding politicians and government to account

Legal framework

  • The degree to which journalists and media are free to work without censorship or judicial sanctions
  • The ability to access information without discrimination, and the ability to protect sources
  • The presence or absence of impunity for those responsible for acts of violence against journalists

Economic context

  • Economic constraints linked to governmental policies (including the difficulty of creating a news media outlet, favouritism in the allocation of state subsidies
  • Economic constraints linked to non-state actors (advertisers and commercial partners)
  • Economic constraints linked to media owners seeking to promote or defend their business interests

Sociocultural context

  • Social constraints resulting from denigration and attacks on the press based on such issues as gender, class, ethnicity and religion
  • Cultural constraints, including pressure on journalists to not question certain bastions of power or influence or not cover certain issues


Ability to gather news without unnecessary risk of:

  • Bodily harm (including murder, violence, arrest, detention and abduction)
  • Psychological or emotional distress that could result from intimidation, coercion, harassment, surveillance, doxing (publication of personal information with malicious intent), degrading or hateful speech, smears and other threats targeting journalists
  • Professional harm resulting from, for example, the loss of one’s job, the confiscation or professional equipment, or the ransacking of installations

Source:  Reporters without borders

Also read: Data | State of press freedom in India

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