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India ranked 140 in World Press Freedom Index 2019; Indian peacekeepers awarded Medal of Honour under UNMISS - Current Affairs

As per the Index, one of the most striking features of the current state of press freedom in India is violence against journalists including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters, criminal groups and corrupt politicians. The year 2018 witnessed a surge in attacks against journalists by supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the run-up to General Elections 2019.

 

Apr 19, 2019 14:05 IST
World Press Freedom Index 2019

Story 1: India's rank slips to 140 in World Press Freedom Index 2019

The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on April 18, 2019 released the World Press Freedom Index 2019, reflecting growing animosity towards journalists.

India’s rank in the World Press Freedom Index 2019 dropped down to 140th from 138th in 2018, two points below the previous year.

As per the Index, one of the most striking features of the current state of press freedom in India is violence against journalists including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters, criminal groups and corrupt politicians. At least six Indian journalists were killed on duty in 2018.

The year 2018 witnessed a surge in attacks against journalists by supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the run-up to Indian General Elections 2019.

The previous year also witnessed the emergence of #MeToo movement in India that exposed many cases of sexual harassment to which women reporters have been subjected.

The media coverage in the sensitive regions like Kashmir continues to be very difficult. Even the entry of foreign reporters is prohibited in Kashmir and the Internet is often disconnected there.

Top 10 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index

Rank

Country

Global Score

1

Norway

7.82

2

Finland

7.90

3

Sweden

8.31

4

Netherlands

8.63

5

Denmark

9.87

6

Switzerland

10.52

7

New Zealand

10.75

8

Jamaica

11.13

9

Belgium

12.07

10

Costa Rica

12.24

Key highlights of the Index

This year, the index has been topped by Norway again for the third year, followed by Finland and Sweden at second and third positions, respectively.

At the bottom of the Index, Vietnam (176th) and China (177th) fell one place; Eritrea that moved up 1 place from last year ranked at 178th; North Korea fetched 179th position; and Turkmenistan moved two positions down to 180th rank.

Only 24 percent of the 180 countries and territories were classified as “good” or “fairly good”, as opposed to 26 percent last year.

Of all the world’s regions, Americas (North and South) suffered the greatest deterioration, falling by 3.6 percent, in its regional score.

The European Union and Balkans registered the second biggest deterioration of 1.7 percent in its regional score.

The Middle East and North Africa region continues to be the most difficult and dangerous for journalists. Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in October 2018 shed a harsh light on the same. Syria (174th) continues to be extremely dangerous for media personnel and as does Yemen (168th).

Africa registered the smallest deterioration in its regional score in the 2019 Index. The rankings of Ethiopia (up 40 positions at 110th) and Gambia (up 30 positions at 92nd) significantly improved from last year’s Index.

The Eastern Europe and Central Asia region continues to rank second last in the Index. Over half of the region’s countries are still ranked near or below 150th position in the Index. Russia and Turkey continue to persecute independent media outlets.

The Asia-Pacific region continues to rank third last. The number of murdered journalists was extremely high in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Disinformation is becoming a big problem in the region.

About World Press Freedom Index

• Published annually by Reporters Without Borders since 2002, the World Press Freedom Index measures the level of media freedom in 180 countries.

• It is based on an evaluation of media freedom that measures pluralism, media independence, the quality of the legal framework and the safety of journalists in 180 countries. It also includes indicators of the level of media freedom violations in each region.

• The global indicator and the regional indicators show that there has been a deep and disturbing decline in respect for media freedom throughout the world.

• It is compiled by means of a questionnaire in 20 languages that is completed by experts all over the world.

• This qualitative analysis is combined with quantitative data on abuses and acts of violence against journalists during the period evaluated.

Story 2: Indian peacekeepers awarded UN Medal of Honour for their service in South Sudan

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on April 15, 2019 honoured 150 Indian peacekeepers, serving the mission, with Medals of Honour for their supreme dedication and sacrifices in Malakal, South Sudan.

The award ceremony consisted of parades and performances by a piped band.

Colonel Amit Gupta was among the recipients of the medal of honour. Gupta commands a battalion of 850 soldiers in the Upper Nile region of South Sudan. Under his command, Indian peacekeepers conducted highly desired veterinary camps and run a veterinary hospital in Malakal.

Under the UNMISS, the Indian Horizontal Mobility Engineering Company had completed the renovation of 145 km of roadway connecting Bentiu and Leer in South Sudan, easing the way for the delivery humanitarian aid, trade and inter-communal dialogue.

India’s contributions towards UN peacekeeping missions

India has been one of the top contributors of troops to the UN peacekeeping missions. Presently, India is second largest contributor of troops, with more than 2,400 personnel deployed as peacekeepers under the UNMISS.

In the past 70 years, over two lakh Indian military and police personnel have served under the UN flag, while 168 valiant soldiers have sacrificed their lives while at the UN service.

Besides this, India has also been contributing to the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.