Context: India has dropped two places on a global press freedom index to be ranked 142nd out of 180 countries in the annual Reporters Without Borders analysis released recently.

Observations made:

About India:

  • Security improved: The World Press Freedom Index 2020 said that with no murders of journalists in India in 2019, as against six in 2018, the security situation for the country's media might seem to have improved.
  • Press freedom violations: However, there have been constant press freedom violations, including police violence against journalists, ambushes by political activists, and reprisals instigated by criminal groups or corrupt local officials.
  • Pressure to fall in line: It attributed the decline in index to alleged pressure on the media to fall in the government's line.
  • The coordinated hate campaigns waged on social networks against journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that annoy Hindutva followers are alarming. The campaigns are particularly virulent when the targets are women.


  • South Asia in general features poorly on the index, with Pakistan dropping three places to 145, and Bangladesh dropping one place to 151.
  • Norway is ranked first in the Index for the fourth year running. 
  • China at 177th position is just three places above North Korea, which is at 180th.

World Press Freedom Index

  • The World Press Freedom Index measures the level of media freedom in 180 countries, published annually by Reporters Without Borders since 2002
  • It is based on an evaluation of media freedom that measures pluralism, media independence, the quality of the legal framework and the safety of journalists.
  • It also includes indicators of the level of media freedom violations in each region.
  • It is compiled by means of a questionnaire in 20 languages that is completed by experts all over the world. 
  • This qualitative analysis is combined with quantitative data on abuses and acts of violence against journalists during the period evaluated.

About RSF(HQ - Paris, France)

Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), or Reporters Without Borders, is a non-profit organisation that works to document and combat attacks on journalists around the world.