India rank in WPFI 2019 – World Press Freedom Index
WPFI is produced by France-based non-government organization Reporters Without Borders (RWB) or Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF). The World Press Freedom Index is an organization that publishes an annual ranking of countries compiled by reporters. According to it, India rank in WPFI 2019 is 140. In WPFI, group of reporters without borders compile the reports based upon the organization’s own assessment of every country’s press freedom records in earlier years. It reflects the degree of freedom that each country provides to journalists, news agencies and net users. Also, it highlights the efforts made by authorities to respect this freedom. Most importantly, reporters without borders carefully note that the index deals only with the freedom of the press. This index neither measures the quality of journalism nor does it look at human rights violation.
To prepare this report, a questionnaire is prepared. This questionnaire contains questions about media independence, environment, self-censorship, transparency, legislative framework, etc. This questionnaire collects a record of the legal framework for media which includes penalties for press offenses and how media are regulated and the independence of public media. Most of the things are monitored by RSF (Reporters Sans Frontiers) staff throughout the year like violence against journalists, media assistants, pressure groups, etc. A questionnaire is forwarded to Reporters without Borders’s partner agencies like 18 freedom of expression (non-government organization) located in five continents. Also, it is forwarded to its 100 + correspondents around the world, journalists, researchers, and human rights activists. This year also the report was compiled and published and found that India rank in WPFI 2019 is 140.
India rank in WPFI 2019, Dropped!
The top three positions were grabbed by Norway, Finland, and Sweden respectively. Unfortunately, India rank in WPFI 2019 dropped down to 140 from 138 in 2018 i.e. two points fall from the last year’s position. What does this drop mean? Well, this drop reflects the growing animosity towards our journalists. Does it mean, in a democratic country like India, the line separating verbal violence and physical violence is dissolving day by day? It is also mentioned that this downfall will be maintained until elections 2019. This was done only to avoid any chance of threat to the journalists.
India’s position dropped in 2018 too, from 136 in 2017 to 138 in 2018. These downfalls are nothing but a black spot on the direction which we are moving towards. According to RSF, “The hatred towards journalists is one of the worst threats to democracy”. RSF is also a non-profitable organization that fights the hate against journalists. It works to maintain a free press in all parts of the globe.
Negative Campaigns and Hurdles
The WPFI also mentioned that there has been an increase in violent attacks on journalists, killing 6 Indian journalists because of their works last year. The present state of press is grievous, viewing Maoist attacks, police violence, criminal groups, negative campaigns, the involvement of corrupt powerful personalities to fulfill their own benefits.
Journalists are even threatened in rural areas. Also, it is tough for journalists to write on issues related to Kashmir. Though in India, freedom of the press is treated as a part of freedom of speech and expression unfortunately, the true freedom has never been attained. All these show the unsafe conditions under which journalists work. All such activities dropped India rank in WPFI 2019.
Is our Democracy in Danger?
A country which proudly holds the flag of the biggest democracy in the world, India’s record in maintaining the freedom of the press is continuously recorded poorly. Any country’s media has a responsibility to fight old ideas like inequality, several social evils, etc. But, it is sad that few people are using their powers to suppress this strong pillar just because of their personal benefits.
Top 10 countries in WPFI 2019 are Norway-1st, Finland-2nd, Sweden-3rd, Netherlands-4th, Denmark-5th, Switzerland-6th, New Zealand-7th, Jamaica-8th, Belgium-9th, and Costa Rica-10th. Out of the list of 180 countries in 2019, 24% are reported as ‘good’ as compared to 26% in 2018.
What about the positions of India’s neighbouring countries? The answer is: Bhutan-80, Maldives-98, Nepal-106, Sri Lanka-126, Pakistan-142, and Bangladesh-150.
WPFI reflects hostility towards journalists throughout the world. It highlighted that media phobia is quite visible. It also pointed the scary picture of political leaders who are threatening the journalists even incarcerating them if they refuse to work according to them.
Index also reflects that quality of press freedom in India is bad. India performed worst on indicators like hate speeches, attacks on journalists on social media, targeting their reputation etc. I wish such activities were not happened and at present I was not discussing the DROP of India rank in WPFI 2019.
WPFI aims to promote and defend freedom of information and freedom of the press and also works for the safety of journalists and media personnel. We all should respect the freedom of the press as it is the only means that present true picture of world. These journalists and media persons are working tirelessly to bring in front of us what’s going in every nook and corner of the world.
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