India: Government disagrees with India’s ranking in World Press Freedom Index: Minister I&B

The Center disagrees with the conclusions drawn by Reporters Without Borders on press freedom in India for various reasons, including the very small sample size and little or no emphasis on the fundamentals of democracy, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting told Lok Sabha on Tuesday. In a written response to a question about India’s 142nd place out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index, compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders this year, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur said the report editor’s adoption of the methodology is “questionable and non-transparent”.

“The World Press Freedom Index is published by a foreign non-governmental organization, Reporters Without Borders. The government does not share its views and country rankings and does not agree with the conclusions drawn by this organization for various reasons, including the very low sample size, little or no importance given to the fundamentals of democracy, adoption of a questionable and non-transparent methodology, absence of a clear definition of freedom of the press, among others “, did he declare.

The minister affirmed that the government is committed to guaranteeing the right to freedom of speech and expression enshrined in Article 19 of the Constitution of India.

Responding to questions about the safety and freedom of journalists as well as the Tripura police who recently arrested 102 people, including journalists, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, he said: “The police and public order are subjects of the state under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India, and state governments are responsible for prevention, detection, recording and investigation crimes and the prosecution of criminals through their law enforcement agencies.

The central government attaches “the utmost importance” to the safety and security of “all citizens of the country, including journalists”, he said.

“A notice specifically addressing the safety of journalists was sent to the States/UTs on October 20, 2017, asking them to strictly enforce the law to ensure the safety and security of journalists,” Thakur added.

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