news Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | December 16, 2014 | 11.12 am IST

India is ranked 140 on press freedom among 180 countries by international media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders.

In contrast, India has been ranked 13th by another media advocacy group Committee to Protect journalists on its Impunity Index, making it one of the worst placed to be a working journalist.

According to Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index, one journalist Tarun Kumar Acharya was killed in 2014, a sharp decline from India’s record for 2013, during which eight journalists had died in connection with their work. Bhutan and Nepal are far ahead of India at 92 and 120 respectively. India is only a few places ahead of Myanmar (145) and Bangladesh (146), and other neighbours such as Pakistan (158) and Sri Lanka (165) and China is far behind at 175. 

Detailing India’s record for the year 2014, the Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders for the year 2014 said: “Criminal organizations, security forces, demonstrators and armed groups all pose a threat to India’s journalists. The violence and the resulting self-censorship is encouraged by the lack of effective investigations by local authorities, who are often quick to abandon them, and inaction on the part of the federal authorities.”

The report also mentions that in the northern regions of the Kashmir valley, mobile and internet communications are suspended when unrest is reported. 

The report also says: “India experienced an unprecedented wave of violence against journalists, with eight killed in 2013. They are targeted by both state and non-state actors. Almost no region is spared but Kashmir and Chhattisgarh continue to be the only two where violence and censorship are endemic. Those responsible for threats and physical violence against journalists, who are often abandoned by the judicial system and forced to censor themselves, include police and security forces as well as criminal groups, demonstrators and political party supporters.”

The Indian journalist killed is Tarun Kumar Acharya, who was a stringer with Odiya television news channel Kanak TV and was also a reporter for Odiya newspaper Sambad. He was killed in Khallikote village of Ganjam district on May 27, 2014. According to the CPJ, Acharya’s murder was initially suspected to be motivated by a personal family dispute, but The Hindu later reported that Acharya was in possession of television footage which showed child labourers working in dangerous conditions, suggesting that his death was work-related.

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.