PARIS, (MANEND NEWS): Paris-based media watchdog, Reporters
Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières – RSF) has said that India
still remains a country that is “bad” for journalism and it ranks 142nd
out of 180 countries, the same position it held last year.
RSF in its 2021 World Press Freedom Index labeled India as “one of
the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists trying to do their
job properly”. It cited police violence against journalists, “ambushes”
by political activists, and “reprisals instigated by criminal groups or
The report pointed out that ever since the general elections in the
spring of 2019, won overwhelmingly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s
Bharatiya Janata Party, pressure has increased on the media to toe the
Hindu nationalist government’s line.
India is ‘one of world’s most dangerous countries for journalists’: 2021
World Press Freedom IndexThe report maintained that Indians who
espouse Hindutva, the ideology that gave rise to radical right-wing
Hindu nationalism, are trying to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-
national’ thought from the public debate. It said the coordinated hate
campaigns waged on social networks against journalists who dare to
speak or write about subjects that annoy Hindutva followers are
terrifying and include calls for the journalists concerned to be
murdered. It noted that “criminal prosecutions” are used to “gag”
journalists critical of authorities, including charges of sedition.
In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the RSF report said,
journalists still cope with “utterly Orwellian content regulations”. It
said that the Editors Guild of India issued a statement on April 17,
2021 urging the Indian police in IIOJK to withdraw its advisory
forbidding journalists from reporting live during cordon and search
operations in the territory, calling it “draconian and undemocratic”. It
said, earlier this month, the police said they would take legal action
against media professionals who come close to the sites of CASOs or
near scenes of ‘law and order’ situations.
In its statement, the Guild said the police was “giving an impression of
trying to maintain peace by attempting to control the fallout of
violence in a high strung environment” but what it was actually doing
was an “attempt…to escape from any kind of media scrutiny”.
The RSF report also mentioned the statement of Nadia Whittome, a
British MP of Indian origin from the Labour Party, wherein she
maintained that Modi government-controlled media has demonised
protesting farmers as Sikh separatists. Whittome put out a video on
Twitter saying as a granddaughter of Punjabi farmers she was proud to
stand in solidarity with the “millions resisting Modi’s regime”.
She said farmers from across India, cutting across gender, religious,
and caste lines, were protesting against the new farm laws that
“threaten” livelihoods. “In response, in order to stoke communal
violence,” she added, “Indian government-controlled media has
demonised protesters as Sikh separatists.”
It is to mention here that Norway is ranked number 1 in the index,
followed by Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Costa Rica. At the bottom
of the index is Eritrea, with North Korea and Turkmenistan preceding