- India’s ranking in the Press Freedom Index has fallen two places to 138, a watchdog said in an annual report, blaming “physical violence” against journalists like Gauri Lankesh as the key reason behind the country’s low ranking.
- Norway topped the list of having the world’s freest press for the second year in a row, the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said while North Korea remained the most repressive country followed by Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Syria and then China.
- India’s ranking has fallen two places to 138th position in a ranking of 180 countries.
- The report warned that hate crime is another issue plaguing India.
- Any investigative reporting that annoys the ruling party or any criticism of Hindutva, 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,
- 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.
- China’s ranking remained unchanged at 175th position for the second year.
- Underlining that China’s censorship and surveillance has reached unprecedented levels due to the massive use of new technology, the RSF said foreign reporters are finding it harder to work and ordinary citizens can now be jailed just for sharing content on a social network or during a private chat on a messaging service.