World Press Freedom Index 2015: India Ranks 136 out of 180 Countries, With A 'Sharp Decline in Press Freedom' Worldwide - Homegrown

World Press Freedom Index 2015: India Ranks 136 out of 180 Countries, With A 'Sharp Decline in Press Freedom' Worldwide

India is ranked 136 out of 180 nations worldwide in the annual World Press Freedom Index of 2015, produced by watchdog group Reporters Without Borders, marking a marginal improvement in terms of press freedom from last year's ranking of coming in at 140 of 180 countries, a position it has not wavered from since 2012. The WPFI summarised, regarding India's performance this year, “One journalist and no net citizens were killed.” The country's absolute score declined from 40.34 to 4.49 from 2014, though, a score that is formulated using criteria such as media independence, the environment that journalists work in, the quality of legislative framework and its effectiveness, transparency of institutions and infrastructure that supports the production of news and information. India's 'abuse score' was 59.58, a number indicating the intensity of violence and harassment faced by journalists in the country, which is lower than Pakistan's score of 64.91 and China's score of 89.64, but higher than Sri Lanka's 40.6.
Journalists attacked in Kashmir while covering elections and the Indian authorities’ brutal search, aimed at members of the Karen community in the Andaman Islands, for those who helped two French documentarians gain access to the prohibited lands of the Jarawa tribe, were two incidents of violence against journalists reported by Reporters Without Borders for the year of 2014. In Jan of last year, there was also another incident involving the arrest of Jitendra Prasad Das, a subeditor with the regional Oriya-language daily Samaj in Cuttack, for the pictorial representation of the Prophet Mohamed.Media freedom on a global scale has suffered 'a sharp decline in freedom of information' over the last year, however, with almost two-thirds of the 180 countries falling a couple of places on the list, because of the rise of extremist groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State, with a decline in press freedom in all continents over the course of 2014.
"There has been an overall deterioration linked to very different factors, with information wars, and action by non-state groups acting like news despots," the head of the Paris-based group, Christophe Deloire, told AFP.
Scandinavian countries such as Finland, Norway and Denmark lead the list whereas Turkmenistan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Eritrea constitute the bottom few rankings respectively. The 'fallers' list was led by Andorra, which slipped an appalling 27 ranks 'as a result of the many conflicts of interests and the great difficulty experienced by journalists in covering the activities of Andorran banks' while the 'risers' were led by Mongolia which shot up 34 ranks with 'few violations in 2014, while the benefits of legislation on access to information began to be seen'. The United States fell three places, coming in 49th in 2015, which the report accredits to the U.S. government’s “persecution of New York Times reporter Jim Risen, as well as the fact that the U.S. ‘continues its war on information in others, such as WikiLeaks.’” Pakistan was ranked 159, while China came in 176th and Sri Lanka, 165th.
You can view the WPFI in its entirety here.
[Additionally, watch this space for a more in-depth interview with Reporters Without Borders about their findings in India and other debates relevant to Press Freedom in the country. ]

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