World Press Freedom Index released, India ranks 133
The 2016 World Press Freedom Index has been released by the Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a Paris-based NGO. Finland, for the sixth-time in-a-row, retained its first place by topping the list of 180 countries, which was followed by Netherlands and Norway. India leaped three spots from 136th place (2015) to 133rd in 2016. Turkmenistan-178, North Korea-179, and Eritrea-180 are ranked in last three places.
What is Press Freedom?
Freedom of the press/media is the freedom of expression and communication through various media like print, electronic, cyber, etc. Preservation of media's freedom, which implies the absence of state's interference, is sought through legal or constitutional protection. However, a government can distinguish materials/information that is public, protected, sensitive, or secret. Freedom of press is covered by the same laws that cover freedom of speech.
UN’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights
According to the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers."
Reporters Without Borders - For Freedom of Information
Reporters Without Borders or Reporters sans Frontieres, established in 1985, is a Paris-based NGO, which advocates for freedom of press and has a consultant status at the UN. RSF monitors, denounces and fights any attacks on media or against laws that restrict the press freedom in cooperation with a government. It also provides moral and financial assistance and enhances the safety of journalists.
What is Press Freedom Index?
Press Freedom Index (PFI), an annual report that is prepared and published by RSF, ranks different countries based on an assessment of press freedom of the previous year in those countries. RSF ranks 180 nations based on indicators like censorship, press freedom, rule of law, transparency, abuses, etc. It is the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, media organizations or netizens in a country.
Ranks not based on quality of journalism
PFI ranks countries based on the freedom of press or information and doesn't deal or measure the quality of journalism and information, or general human rights violations. The first index which was released in 2002, was topped by Finland.
2016 Rankings of India’s neighbors
India's neighboring nations' rankings: Pakistan 147, Afghanistan 120, China 176, Nepal 105, Bhutan 94, Bangladesh 144, and Sri Lanka 141. The United States is ranked 44th and Russia took the 148th place, far behind India.
PM Modi seems indifferent to threats: RSF Report
The latest report on Press Freedom in the world states that Prime Minister Modi seems unconcerned about the threats faced by Indian journalists. It said that sensitive regions like Kashmir were not easily covered by reporters. It adds that journalists and bloggers are attacked continuously by religious groups but, PM Modi isn't taking any measures to keep the situation under control and protect journalists.
World Press Freedom deteriorated greatly: RSF
Reporters Without Borders' 2016 report says that world press freedom declined considerably in 2015; RSF also warned that a 'new era of propaganda' is gaining momentum. Christophe Deloire, Secretary General-RSF, stated that the 2016 report saw "deterioration in press freedom at global and regional levels." The report says that leaders are trying to regain control over nations because they fear overly open public debate.