21 April 2016 Current Affairs: India with a score of 43.17 was ranked 133 out of 180 countries in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index that was released on 20 April 2016. The Index was published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).In 2015 Index, India with a score of 40.49 was ranked 136 out of 180 countries.The index has been topped by Finland followed by the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and New Zealand at second, third, fourth and fifth position respectively.At the bottom of the index lies Eritrea at 180th rank. It is preceded by North Korea, Turkmenistan, Syria and China at 179th, 178th, 177th and 176th position respectively.
Highlights : India continues to languish in the bottom third of the World Press Freedom Index, because of the number of journalists killed and the impunity for crimes of violence against the media.The situation is worsening in India, although its media are dynamic and much more capable of playing the role of democracy’s watchdog than the media in most other countries in last third of the Index.Frequent lawsuits against journalists by local officials and draconian legislation on defamation and online publications impose major constraints on the media and encourage self-censorship. Violence has emerged as the main brake on media activity in recent years, especially for reporters in the field and investigative journalists. Wherever they work, Indian journalists are exposed to growing violence.Frequent verbal and physical violence, attacks by armed groups are on the rise in several states and the local authorities have had little success in reining it in.With almost one attack on a journalist every month and four journalists murdered in 2015 (at least two of them in connection with their work), the state of Uttar Pradesh has become one of India’s most dangerous regions.Indian government has made no provision for the creation of a special unit to combat impunity for crimes of violence against journalists, although there was an attack against a journalist every three days in 2014, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
World Press Freedom Index : World Press Freedom Index is published annually by RSF since 2002. It measures the level of freedom available to journalists in 180 countries using the following criteria – pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative environment, transparency, infrastructure, and abuses.