India drops two places to stand at 138 in Press Freedom Index

India drops two places to stand at 138 in Press Freedom Index

New Delhi: India’s ranking in the Press Freedom Index has dropped two places to stand at 138.

The latest ranking was released on Wednesday. The annual report was released by Reporters Without Borders or Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF).

The organization pointed that Gauri Lankesh death was one incident that hit Indian media situation hard.

” With Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ thought from the national debate, self-censorship is growing in the mainstream media and journalists are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by the most radical nationalists, who vilify them and even threaten physical reprisals,”  the RSF said in its statement about media situation in India.

“At least three of the journalists murdered in 2017 were targeted in connection with their work. They included the newspaper editor Gauri Lankesh, who had been the target of a hate campaign on social networks,” it said pointing at the Lankesh murder incident.

“Three other journalists were killed for their professional activity in March 2018. Prosecutions are also used to gag journalists who are overly critical of the government, with some prosecutors invoking Section 124a of the penal code, under which “sedition” is punishable by life imprisonment. No journalist has so far been convicted of sedition but the threat encourages self-censorship. Coverage of regions that the authorities regard as sensitive, such as Kashmir, continues to be very difficult,” it said.

“When not detained, Kashmiri journalists working for local media outlets are often the targets of violence by soldiers acting with the central government’s tacit consent,” read the note on India.

–IBNS

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