New Delhi: Media associations in the country have voiced concern over India slipping 11 places to 161st rank in the World Press Freedom Index, 2023, published on Wednesday.
Global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which publishes a yearly report on press freedom in countries across the world, had last year ranked India at 150 in a survey of 180 countries.
“The situation has gone from ‘problematic’ to ‘very bad’ in three other countries: Tajikistan (down 1 at 153rd), India (down 11 at 161st) and Turkey (down 16 at 165th),” the RSF report said.
“The other phenomenon that dangerously restricts the free flow of information is the acquisition of media outlets by oligarchs who maintain close ties with political leaders,” the report, published on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, added.
The Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India, and the Press Association released a joint statement condemning the country’s dip in the index.
“The indices of press freedom have worsened in several countries, including India, according to the latest RSF report,” the joint statement said.
“For developing democracies in the Global South where deep pockets of inequities exist, the media’s role cannot be understated. Likewise the constraints on press freedom due to hostile working conditions like contractorization have to also be challenged. Insecure working conditions can never contribute to a free press,” it added.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor too commented on the embarrassing development.
“Time for all of us to hang our heads in shame: India slips in World Press Freedom Index, ranks 161 out of 180 countries,” he wrote on Twitter.
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