Modi govt rejects World Press Freedom Index findings that ranked India 150th among 180 nations

The World Press Freedom Index was released last May. In this, India slipped from 142nd place last year to 150th place. Now the government told Parliament on Thursday that it does not agree with the findings drawn by ‘Reporters Without Borders’ in the World Press Freedom Index, which has ranked India 150th out of 180 countries.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur in a written reply in Rajya Sabha said that the government does not agree with the findings drawn by the organization due to various reasons. This report is based on very few samples. Not only this, little or no importance has been given to the basic principles of democracy. The methodology associated with the report is questionable and non-transparent. Anurag Thakur was replying to a question by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and AAP member Sanjay Singh.

Also read: World Press Freedom Index 2022: India slips 8 places to 150th rank, worse than Somalia and Sri Lanka

The Union Minister said that the government is committed to ensure the right to freedom of speech and expression enshrined under Article 19 of the Constitution. The Press Council of India (PCI) has been established under the Press Council Act, 1978 primarily to maintain the freedom of the press and to improve the standards of newspapers and news agencies in the country. The Press Council of India (PCI) deals with complaints regarding curtailment of press freedom.

Anurag Thakur said that the Press Council of India (PCI) also has the right to take suo moto cognizance of important issues related to the freedom of the press and the protection of its high standards. Responding to Mallikarjun Kharge’s query on arrest of journalists, the Union Minister said that the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) does not maintain separate data on attacks on journalists. The report said that except Nepal, India’s other neighboring countries have also declined in the ranking of world press freedom.

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