India’s ranking in the 2023 world press freedom index (WPFI) has slipped to 161 out of 180 countries as against 150th in 2022.
– The report released by the global media watchdog Reporters Without Border (RSF).
– Norway, Ireland and Denmark occupied the top three positions in press freedom, while Vietnam (178th ), China(179th ) and North Korea(180th)
constituted the bottom three.
– Sri Lanka made big significant improvement on the index, ranking 135th this year as against 146th last year
– Pakistan stands a better position at 150th as against 157th in 2022.
– Most worrying collapse for India is in the security indicator where India’s rank is at 172.
Press Freedom Index
– Define press freedom-The ability of journalists as individuals and collectives to select, produce, and disseminate news in the public interest
independent of political, economic, legal, and social interference and in the absence of threats to their physical and mental safety.
– World press freedom index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by RSF.
– It reflects the degree of freedom of journalists, news organisations, and netizens.
– Index is based on a questionnaire using seven general criteria
1. Pluralism (degree of representation in media space)
2. Media independence.
3. Environment and self-censorship.
4. Legislative framework
– It is an international NGO that promotes media freedom
– RSF has consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, and the Council of Europe.
– Headquarters – Paris
– RSF evaluates press freedom in countries on the basis of five indicator-political, economic, legislative, social and security
Constraints on press freedom
– Industry of disinformation- AI program that can create disinformation in social media.
– Intelligence services spying on journalists.
– Restricting the free flow of information is the acquisition of media by oligarchs who maintain close ties with political leaders.
– Hostile working conditions like contractorization.
– Insecure working conditions and prosecution of journalists.
Legal Provision on press freedom in India
– Art 19 (1)(a)-freedom of speech and expression.
Right to publish and circulate
Right to receive information
Right to report court proceedings
Right to advertise
– Under Art 19(2)-reasonable restrictions are imposed in the interest of the security of the state, sovereignty and integration, friendly relation
with foreign countries, contempt of court, incitement of offences, public order, and defamation.
Romesh Thapar vs State of Madras and Brij Bhushan vs State of Delhi, the apex court
stated that freedom of the press is an essential part of the right to freedom speech and expression.