With more and more “physical violence” against journalists and hatred of journalism threatening the country, India has dropped two spots from 136 to 138 in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Wednesday.
“The physical violence against journalists is largely responsible for India’s low ranking. At least, three journalists were murdered in connection with their work. More were killed in circumstances that were unclear, as is often the case in rural areas, where reporters are poorly paid,” said the global watchdog in a statement.
The report also blamed Hindu fundamentalists for the state of press in India.
“Ever since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014, Hindu fundamentalists have been referring to journalists in extremely violent terms,” the report said.
RSF report holds 'troll armies in Modi's pay' responsible for hatred.
“Any investigative reporting that annoys the ruling party or any criticism of Hindutva, an ideology that blends Hindu nationalism with an almost fascistic rhetoric, elicits a torrent of online insults and calls for the death of the reporter or writer responsible, most of it coming from the prime minister’s troll army,” it reads.
The report also mentioned how difficult to coverage some areas such as Kashmir.
"Coverage of regions that the authorities regard as sensitive, such as Kashmir, continues to be very difficult. Foreign reporters are barred from the region and the internet is often disconnected there,” it said.
While India dropped two points, Norway top the list for the second year, the RSF said.
The lowest ranking in the list is North Korea followed by Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Syria and then China.
European nations continue to dominate the rankings for having the most press freedom. Other than Norway, Sweden finished second in the list. The Netherlands, Finland and Switzerland rounded out the top five nations.
By region, RSF ranked Europe as having the greatest press freedom, followed by the Americas, Africa, the Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe/Central Asia and the Middle East/North Africa.
First Published: Apr 25, 2018 8:04 PM IST