Attacks against journalists by supporters of PM Modi increased: Report

The 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) shows that India has slipped down two spots. RSF compiles the report annually indicating how hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence in countries across the world.

According to Times Now report, India made its debut on this index in 2013 at 140 out of 180 countries. Though the rankings gradually improved, reaching 136 in 2017, it slipped back to 140 in the 2019 index. Stating the current state of press freedom in India, the report claims that violence against journalists, including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters and retaliation by corrupt politicians and criminal outfits is prevalent in India.

In the year 2018 alone six Indian journalists were reportedly killed. Report highlights dangers faced by scribes, especially the ones working for regional media outlets in rural areas of the country. Times Now quoted the report as stating, “Attacks against journalists by supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased in the run-up to general elections in the spring of 2019.”

It also maintained that the foreign journalists are barred from Kashmir where internet shutdowns occur almost daily. Asserting that female journalists in India are targeted on social media through the means of coordinated hate campaigns and even receive threats of rape and murder, the report claims that journalists who criticise the authorities are often threatened with criminal prosecution and even gagged with Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Christophe Deloire, secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders claimed that journalists are treated as scapegoats, then democracy is in great danger.