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Press Freedom Index:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Context:

The 2022 World Press Freedom Index (20th edition) was recently published by Reporters Without Borders.

  • It was released on the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) (3rd May).
  • The report points to an overall two-fold increase in media polarisation creating divisions within countries, and between countries at the international level.

 

World Press Freedom Index:

  • 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).
  • The Index ranks countries and regions according to the level of freedom available to journalists. However, it is not an indicator on the quality of journalism.
  • Each country or territory’s score is evaluated using five contextual indicators: political context, legal framework, economic context, sociocultural context and safety.

 

Performance of India:

  • India has fallen eight places from 142 to 150 in 2022 out of 180 countries.
  • India’s ranking, as per the report, fell on the back of increased “violence against journalists” and a “politically partisan media”, which has landed press freedom in a state of “crisis” in the world’s largest democracy.
  • Media in India, among nations reputed to be more democratic, faces pressure from “increasingly authoritarian and/or nationalist governments.
  • It also faults India for its policy framework, which is protective in theory but resorts to using charges of defamation, sedition, contempt of court and endangering national security against journalists critical of the government, branding them as “anti-national.”

 

Performance of other countries:

  • Norway (1st) Denmark (2nd), Sweden (3rd) Estonia (4th) and Finland (5th) grabbed the top positions.
  • North Korea remained at the bottom of the list of the 180 countries.
  • Russia was placed at 155th position.

 

India’s Neighbours:

  • Nepal has climbed up by 30 points in the global ranking at 76th position.
  • The index placed Pakistan at 157th position, Sri Lanka 146th, Bangladesh 162nd and Myanmar at 176th position.
  • China was ranked at 175th position.

 

About the World Press Freedom Day:

  • The day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991.
  • The day also marks the 1991 Windhoek Declaration (adopted by UNESCO).
  • It is aimed towards the ‘development of a free, independent and pluralistic press’.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about the Index Monitoring Cell set up by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in 2020? What were its objectives? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Reporters Without Borders.
  2. Performance of India and its neighbours.
  3. Top and bottom performers.
  4. Comparison of countries and their performance in previous years.

Mains Link:

Comment on the findings of the World Press Freedom Index on India.

Sources: the Hindu.