World Press Freedom Index 2022

GS Paper – 2 Fundamental Rights, Indian Constitution

Why in the news?

  • Reporters Without Borders issued the 20th edition of the World Press Freedom Index on World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) (3rd May) (RSF).
  • India was ranked 150th out of 180 nations.

What are the World Press Freedom Day Highlights?


  • The UN General Assembly declared the day in 1993, on the request of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991.
  • The day also commemorates the Windhoek Declaration of 1991. (adopted by UNESCO).
  • Its goal was to “create a free, independent, and pluralistic press.”

The theme for 2022 is:

Journalism under digital siege

What exactly is the World Press Freedom Index (WPFI)?


  • Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) or Reporters Without Borders has released it every year since 2002.
  • RSF is an independent NGO based in Paris that has consultative status with the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, and the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF).
  • The Organization of French-Speaking Nations (OIF) is a group of 54 French-speaking countries.
  • The Index assesses nations and regions based on the amount of freedom enjoyed by journalists. However, it is not a reliable predictor of journalistic quality.

Criteria for scoring:

  • The Index’s rankings are based on a number provided to each country or territory ranging from 0 to 100, with 100 being the best possible score (the highest possible level of press freedom) and 0 being the lowest.

Criteria for Evaluation:

  • The score of any country or territory is determined by five contextual indicators: political environment, legal framework, economic context, sociocultural setting, and safety.

What are the High Points of the World’s Performance?


  • The analysis finds a two-fold increase in “polarisation” exacerbated by information disorder, that is, media polarisation fueling differences inside nations as well as worldwide polarisation.

Country Rankings:

The Best and Worst Performers:

Norway’s (1stDenmark came in second, followed by Sweden (3rd) The top spots were taken by Estonia (4th) and Finland (5th).

North Korea remains at the bottom of the 180-country list.

Russia came in at 155th place.

Neighbors of India:

  • Nepal has moved up 30 places in the world rankings to 76th place.
  • Pakistan was ranked 157th, Sri Lanka was ranked 146th, Bangladesh was ranked 162nd, and Myanmar was ranked 176th.
  • China was placed 175th overall.

What about India’s performance?


  • India has dropped eight positions in 2022, from 142nd to 150th out of 180 nations.
  • Since 2016, when it was placed 133, India’s standing in the ranking has steadily declined.
  • The reasons for the drop in ranking include rising “violence against journalists” and a “politically oriented media.”

Reasons for India’s Drop in Ranking:

Governmental pressure:

  • According to the index, the media in India, one of the nations seen as more democratic, is under attack from “increasingly authoritarian and/or nationalist regimes.”

Policy Framework Flaws:

  • Although the policy framework is theoretically protective, it resorts to using defamation, sedition, contempt of court, and harming national security against journalists who criticise the government, labelling them as “anti-national.”

India is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists:

  • According to the research, India is also one of the most hazardous nations in the world for journalists.
  • Journalists are subjected to a wide range of physical assault, including police brutality, ambushes by political activists, and lethal retaliation by criminal organisations or corrupt local politicians.

Concerning the Kashmir issue:

  • The situation in Kashmir remains “dangerous,” and journalists are frequently harassed by police and paramilitaries.

What about press freedom in India?

  • The ultimate legislation of the state, the Constitution, provides freedom of speech and expression under Article 19, which deals with ‘Protection of certain rights related freedom of speech, etc.’
  • The Indian legal system does not specifically safeguard press freedom, but it is impliedly protected by article 19(1)(a) of the constitution, which declares that “all people shall enjoy the right to freedom of speech and expression.”
  • In Romesh Thappar v. State of Madras, the Supreme Court observed in 1950 that press freedom was at the heart of all democratic organisations.
  • However, press freedom is not absolute. It is subject to the following limitations under Article 19(2):
  • Matters pertaining to India’s sovereignty and integrity, security, cordial relations with other states, public order, decency, or morality, or in connection to contempt of court, defamation, or incitement to an offence.


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