The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has released the World Press Freedom Index 2019, reflecting growing animosity towards journalists.

India’s rank dropped down to 140th from 138th in 2018, two points below the previous year.

The parameters that are evaluated are:

  • level of pluralism
  • media independence
  • environment and self-censorship
  • transparency
  • legal framework
  • quality of the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information

Reasons for low ranking:

As per the Index, one of the most striking features of the current state of press freedom in India is violence against journalists including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters, criminal groups and corrupt politicians.

The media coverage in the sensitive regions like Kashmir continues to be very difficult. Even the entry of foreign reporters is prohibited in Kashmir and the Internet is often disconnected there.

The previous year also witnessed the emergence of #MeToo movement in India that exposed many cases of sexual harassment to which women reporters have been subjected.

The media coverage in the sensitive regions like Kashmir continues to be very difficult. Even the entry of foreign reporters is prohibited in Kashmir and the Internet is often disconnected there.

Mechanisms for Freedom of Press in India:

The importance of the freedom of the press lies in the fact that for most citizens the prospect of personal familiarity with newsworthy events is unrealistic. In seeking out news, the media therefore act for the public at large. It is the means by which people receive free flow of information and ideas, which is essential to intelligent self-governance, that is, democracy.

In aseries of decisions from 1950 onwards the Supreme Court has ruled thatFreedom of the Press is implicit in the guarantee of freedom of speechand expression in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. Thusfreedom of the press by judicial interpretation has been accordedconstitutional status.

Press Council of India maintains this freedom and holds the accountability of the press.

Way forward

With increased instances of paid news and era of fake news its become important that press should be neutral and on side of truth. For this, Press or Media ethics should be part of journalism of all types and forms.

There is need of a regulatory body on all types of press and media. Press Council of India has no power to take actions the errant behaviour.

Share This