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World Press Freedom Index 2023

Context:

On the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) (3rd May), the World Press Freedom Index 2023 was published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About World Press Freedom Index
  2. World Press Freedom Day
  3. Key highlights of the World Press Freedom Index 2023

About World Press Freedom Index

  • The World Press Freedom Index is an annual report published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an independent NGO based in Paris.
Purpose:
  • The report ranks 180 countries based on their level of press freedom, taking into account factors such as censorship, media independence, and the safety of journalists.
Background:
  • RSF has consultative status with the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, and the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF).
  • OIF is a collective of 54 French-speaking nations.
  • However, the Index is not an indicator of the quality of journalism.
Methodology:
  • The Index’s rankings are based on a score ranging from 0 to 100 that is assigned to each country or territory, with 100 being the best possible score (the highest possible level of press freedom) and 0 the worst.
  • Each country or territory’s score is evaluated using five contextual indicators:
    • Political context
    • Legal framework
    • Economic context
    • Sociocultural context
    • Safety.

World Press Freedom Day

  • World Press Freedom Day is a day proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993 to raise awareness of the importance of press freedom and the protection of journalists’ rights.
  • The day also commemorates the 1991 Windhoek Declaration, which was adopted by UNESCO. The main objective of this day is to promote free and independent media worldwide.
  • The theme for World Press Freedom Day 2023 is ‘Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of Expression as a Driver for All Other Human Rights’.

Key highlights of the World Press Freedom Index 2023 are:

Top and Bottom Ranked Countries:

  • Norway, Ireland and Denmark are the top three countries with the highest level of press freedom.
  • Vietnam, China and North Korea are the bottom three countries with the lowest level of press freedom.

Improvement and Deterioration in Ranking:

  • Sri Lanka has made significant improvement in its ranking, moving up from 146th in 2022 to 135th this year.
  • Pakistan is ranked at the 150th position.
  • The situation has deteriorated in three countries: Tajikistan, India, and Turkey, with their rankings dropping to 153rd, 161st, and 165th respectively.

India’s Performance Analysis:

  • India is ranked 161st among 180 countries, with a score of 36.62, down from 150th in 2022.
  • India’s ranking has been consistently falling since 2016 when it was ranked 133.
  • The reasons behind India’s fall in ranking are the increased violence against journalists and a politically partisan media.
  • The acquisition of media outlets by oligarchs who maintain close ties with political leaders also restricts the free flow of information.
  • Many journalists in India are forced to censor themselves due to extreme pressure.

-Source: The Hindu


 

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