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World Press Freedom Index 2019
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: About the index and its indicators, performance of India and other countries and measures to ensure freedom of press.
Context: The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has released the World Press Freedom Index 2019, reflecting growing animosity towards journalists.
- The index has been topped by Norway again for the third year, followed by Finland and Sweden at second and third positions, respectively.
- Only 24 percent of the 180 countries and territories were classified as “good” or “fairly good”, as opposed to 26 percent last year.
- Of all the world’s regions, Americas (North and South) suffered the greatest deterioration, falling by 3.6 percent, in its regional score.
- The Middle East and North Africa region continues to be the most difficult and dangerous for journalists.
- Syria (174th) continues to be extremely dangerous for media personnel and as does Yemen (168th).
- The Asia-Pacific region continues to rank third last. The number of murdered journalists was extremely high in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Disinformation is becoming a big problem in the region.
Observations on India:
- India’s rank dropped down to 140th from 138th in 2018, two points below the previous year.
- 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.
About World Press Freedom Index:
- Published annually by Reporters Without Borders since 2002, the World Press Freedom Index measures the level of media freedom in 180 countries.
- It is based on an evaluation of media freedom that measures pluralism, media independence, the quality of the legal framework and the safety of journalists.
- It also includes indicators of the level of media freedom violations in each region.
- It is compiled by means of a questionnaire in 20 languages that is completed by experts all over the world. This qualitative analysis is combined with quantitative data on abuses and acts of violence against journalists during the period evaluated.
Sources: the hindu.