In the wake of World Press Freedom Day on Tuesday (3 May), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) announced the 2022 World Press Freedom Index, which ranked India 150th out of 180 countries. The nation had been ranked 142nd the previous year. “Violence against journalists, politically biased media, and media ownership concentration all suggest that press freedom is in peril in ‘the world’s greatest democracy,'” the global media freedom non-governmental organization claims as to the cause of India’s deterioration.

“The Indian press used to be considered as quite progressive,” according to the group, “but things changed abruptly in the mid-2010s when Narendra Modi became prime minister and achieved a stunning reunion between his party, the BJP, and the major families owning the media.” “The Reliance Industries group, run by Mukesh Ambani, now a personal friend of Modi’s, owns more than 70 media channels with a combined audience of more than 800 million Indians. Modi maintained a negative tone against journalists from the start. Indian journalists who are excessively critical of the government are targeted by Modi followers known as bhakts, who engage in all-out harassment and assault campaigns,” RSF continues.

As per Reporters Without Borders’ 2022 report, three to four journalists are slain each year as a result of their job. “India is one of the most hazardous places for journalists in the world. Journalists face a variety of physical threats, including police brutality, ambushes by political activists, and lethal reprisals by criminal gangs of corrupt local authorities,” the report strongly emphasizes. According to RSF, the Indian government began a guerilla campaign of litigation against news organizations whose reporting of the COVID outbreak challenged official pronouncements under the pretense of combating COVID-19.

According to the RSF 2022 World Press Freedom Index, amidst typically significant stock market valuations, news businesses rely heavily on advertising agreements with local and regional governments. “In recent years, there has been a growth of ‘Godi media’ (a play on Modi’s name and lapdogs) — media channels like Times Now and Republic TV that blend populism with pro-BJP propaganda,” according to the index. According to the report, Norway is by far the most open nation when it comes to media freedom, meanwhile, North Korea is the most restricted, ranking 180th.

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