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India slips in press freedom rankings; Javadekar slams report

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar. File  

Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar, speaking on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, said his government “will expose” the surveys that portray a “bad picture about ‘Freedom of Press’ in India”.

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The Minister’s comments come in the backdrop of the latest survey of the global body, Reporters Without Borders, that shows India dropping two places on the global press freedom index ranking to 142nd place in the list of 180 countries. India’s neighbours — Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka — are ranked higher in the list.

“Media has the power to inform and enlighten people. Media in India enjoy absolute freedom. We will expose, sooner than later, those surveys that tend to portray bad picture about ‘Freedom of Press’ in India,” Mr. Javadekar tweeted.

The report on “'The World Press Freedom Index 2020”, which was released on April 22, said that 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.

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“However, there have been constant press freedom violations, including police violence against journalists, ambushes by political activists, and reprisals instigated by criminal groups or corrupt local officials,” it said.

In 2010, India was ranked 122, which has been steadily declining. In 2013 and 2014 it slipped to 140 place. But in 2015, it improved four positions to be placed at 136. In 2016, it further improved to be at 133. In 2017, it was back at 136. Next two years, 2018 and 2019 it slipped two ranks, to be at 138 and 140 respectively.

Norway is ranked first in the Index for the fourth year running. China at 177, is just three places above North Korea, which is at 180.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2020 1:27:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-slips-in-press-freedom-rankings-javadekar-slams-report/article31494652.ece

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