World Press Freedom Index-2024

World Press Freedom Index-2024



Why in the News?


In the most recent release of the World Press Freedom Index, a yearly publication by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), India is positioned at a worrying spot, standing 159th out of 180 countries. While this represents a minor advancement from its previous ranking of 161, it highlights enduring challenges faced by journalists within the nation.


More on the Report


  • India’s ranking saw an improvement from 161 in 2023 to 159 in 2024. However, this ascent was mainly propelled by the decline in rankings of other countries. India experienced a decrease in scores across all categories except for the security indicator in the press freedom questionnaire, encompassing political, legal, economic, sociocultural contexts, and security.
  • Among India’s neighbours, Pakistan ranked 152nd, Sri Lanka 151st, Nepal 74th, and the Maldives 106th. Afghanistan was positioned at 178th, Bangladesh at 165th, and Myanmar at 171st.
  • The Asia-Pacific region remains the world’s second most challenging region for journalism, with five countries among the ten most perilous for journalists: Myanmar (171st), China (172nd), North Korea (177th), Vietnam (174th), and Afghanistan (178th).
  • In the Middle East and North Africa, the situation is deemed “very serious” in nearly half of the countries. The United Arab Emirates joins eight other countries in the red zone, including Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Palestine, Iraq, Bahrain, Syria, and Egypt. Palestine, suffering from occupation and bombardment by the Israeli army, is ranked at the bottom of the Index as the deadliest country for journalists.
  • Countries in Europe, particularly within the European Union, demonstrate good press freedom, propelled by the adoption of the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA). Norway leads the ranking at 1st, followed by Denmark (2nd) and Sweden (3rd).


About Reporter Without Borders


  • Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is a non-profit organization advocating for press freedom and the protection of journalists worldwide. RSF conducts research, monitors media freedom violations, and campaigns for the rights of journalists, working to safeguard freedom of expression and information across the globe.
  • Established in 1985
  • Headquarter- Paris


Concerns Raised by the Report about India


Press freedom faces a severe crisis:

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

Oppressive laws:

  • The government has enacted several new laws granting it extraordinary authority to regulate the media, censor news, and stifle dissent. These include the Telecommunications Act 2023, the proposed Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill 2023, and the Digital Personal Data Protection Act 2023.

Unofficial declaration of a state of emergency:

  • RSF’s analysis suggests that the government has orchestrated a notable alignment between the ruling party and major media conglomerates. For instance, the Reliance group owns over 70 media outlets, collectively reaching at least 800 million Indians.

Targeting of journalists:

  • According to the report, journalists who criticise the government routinely face online harassment, intimidation, threats, and physical assaults, as well as legal prosecutions and arbitrary detentions.
  • The situation remains particularly alarming in Kashmir, where reporters frequently encounter harassment from police and paramilitary forces.



Why is Press freedom important to protect Democracy?

Press freedom plays a fundamental role in safeguarding democracy by ensuring transparency, accountability, and the protection of citizens’ rights.


Informed Citizens:

  • Press freedom facilitates the dissemination of diverse viewpoints, information, and analysis, empowering citizens to make informed decisions about their government, society, and daily lives. A free press serves as a vital source of information, offering citizens access to a wide range of perspectives and enabling them to critically evaluate government policies, actions, and decisions.

Accountability and Transparency:

  • A free press acts as a watchdog, holding governments and public officials accountable for their actions, exposing corruption, abuses of power, and violations of human rights. By scrutinizing government activities and providing investigative journalism, the press serves as a check on the abuse of authority, ensuring transparency and integrity in governance.

Protection of Fundamental Rights:

  • A free press plays a crucial role in protecting and advocating for fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, assembly, and association.
  • Journalists serve as defenders of human rights, amplifying the voices of the oppressed, marginalized, and vulnerable, and exposing injustices and abuses.

Promotes Pluralism:

  • Press freedom fosters a diverse media landscape where multiple voices, opinions, and ideologies can thrive. A pluralistic media environment allows for the representation of marginalised communities, minority viewpoints, and dissenting voices, enriching public discourse and promoting social inclusion and cohesion.


Way forward 


Independent Regulatory Mechanisms:

  • Institute autonomous media regulatory bodies devoid of governmental manipulation and partisan influence.
  • Ensure that the composition of such bodies reflects a diverse array of societal perspectives to uphold neutrality.

Protect Journalists and Whistleblowers:

  • Introduce and enforce legislation aimed at shielding journalists from intimidation, physical harm, and online harassment.
  • Institute measures to protect whistleblowers who disclose information in the public interest from reprisals.

Enhanced Transparency:

  • Implement robust freedom of information statutes to bolster transparency and facilitate journalists’ access to governmental data.
  • Enforce transparency in media ownership structures to mitigate concentration and potential conflicts of interest.

Legal Safeguards:

  • Revise legislation such as defamation and sedition laws that may be prone to misuse in curtailing press freedoms.
  • Ensure the expeditious and equitable adjudication of cases related to infringements on press freedom.

Public Broadcasting Autonomy:

  • Preserve the autonomy of public broadcasting entities by insulating them from governmental interference.
  • Nominate impartial boards to oversee public broadcasters and secure funding free from partisan influence.


Download Yojna daily current affairs eng med 6th May 2024


Prelims based Question


Q1. Consider the following statements:

  1. World Press Freedom Index is an annual report published by Reporter with Borders.
  2. India improved its ranking from 2023 and ranked most free among the South Asian countries.

Choose the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a). 1 Only

(b). 2 Only

(c). Both 1 and 2

(d). Neither 1 nor 2




Mains Based Question


Q1. What measures can be taken to address the challenges faced by journalists and uphold press freedom in India?


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