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About World Press Freedom Index


India’s rank in the 2024 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has improved slightly from 161 to 159 among 180 jurisdictions. However, this improvement contrasts with a decline in India’s score, which fell from 36.62 to 31.28. Scores dropped across most indicators except for security, with the ranking improvement attributed to declines in other countries’ rankings rather than substantial progress in India. Despite these challenges, the Indian government has historically dismissed international rankings of freedoms in the country as propaganda.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. World Press Freedom Index
  2. What the 2024 WPFI Highlights About India?

World Press Freedom Index

The World Press Freedom Index (WPFI) is an annual assessment of press freedom in countries worldwide, compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an international NGO based in France. Here’s an overview:

Purpose and Scope:

  • The WPFI provides a ranking of countries based on their level of press freedom, focusing solely on this aspect and not on the quality of journalism or broader human rights issues.
  • It aims to assess the degree of freedom journalists, news organizations, and internet users have in each country, considering various factors that impact press freedom.


  • The assessment is conducted through a press freedom questionnaire covering five categories: political context, legal framework, economic context, sociocultural context, and security.
  • By evaluating these aspects, the index seeks to reflect the extent of press freedom and the efforts made by authorities to uphold this freedom within each country.
2024 WPFI Rankings:
  • There has been an overall decline in the political indicator, affecting the top-ranking countries in the WPFI.
  • Norway remains in first place but has experienced a decline in its political score. Ireland, previously in the top position within the EU, has dropped to 8th place due to instances of judicial intimidation against media outlets, with Denmark now ranking 2nd followed by Sweden in 3rd.
  • The countries at the bottom of last year’s index, including Vietnam, China, and North Korea, have been replaced by Afghanistan, Syria, and Eritrea, respectively, with Eritrea ranking last.
  • Concerns regarding press freedoms in countries undergoing elections are notable, with the United States identified as particularly concerning in this regard.

India’s Ranking:

  • India’s rank improved from 161 in 2023 to 159 in 2024, but this was because other countries had slipped in their rankings. 
  • Scores for India dropped (worsened) in all but the security indicator.
  • India is ranked behind Turkey, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, which are ranked at positions 158, 152, and 150, respectively.

What the 2024 WPFI Highlights About India?

The 2024 World Press Freedom Index highlights several concerning developments regarding press freedom in India:

Crisis in Press Freedom:

  • Reporters Without Borders (RSF) claims that press freedom is in crisis in India, the world’s largest democracy.
  • As of the report, nine journalists and one media worker have been detained in India, though no journalist or media worker has been killed in the country since January 2024.

Draconian Laws:

  • The Indian government has introduced several new laws that grant extraordinary powers to control the media, censor news, and silence critics.
  • These laws include the Telecommunications Act 2023, the draft Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill 2023, and the Digital Personal Data Protection Act 2023.

Unofficial State of Emergency:

  • RSF’s analysis suggests that the government has fostered a close relationship between the ruling party and prominent media families, creating an atmosphere akin to an unofficial state of emergency.
  • For instance, the Reliance group owns more than 70 media outlets followed by at least 800 million Indians, raising concerns about media ownership and independence.

Harassment of Journalists:

  • Journalists critical of the government face routine online harassment, intimidation, threats, physical attacks, criminal prosecutions, and arbitrary arrests.
  • The situation is particularly concerning in Kashmir, where reporters often face harassment from police and paramilitaries, exacerbating challenges to press freedom.

-Source: The Hindu

May 2024