Javadekar attacks press index, says Indian media has freedom
Asserting that the media enjoys absolute freedom in India, information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said on Sunday that surveys that tend to portray a negative picture of press freedom in the country will be exposed.
On World Press Freedom Day, Javadekar said in a Twitter post that the media has the power to inform and enlighten people. “Media in India enjoy absolute freedom. We will expose, sooner than later, those surveys that tend to portray bad picture about ‘Freedom of Press’ in India,” he wrote.
The minister’s comments come in the backdrop of an annual Reporters Without Borders analysis released last month, which showed that India dhad ropped two notches on a global press freedom index to the 142nd place out of 180 countries.
A government official, who requested anonymity, said that while the media in the country was free and even social media was abuzz because of the liberty they received, some surveys did not do justice to the independence the media enjoys in India.
“In fact, there are questions about how these surveys collect their evidence on the basis of which they draw conclusions,” said the official.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president J P Nadda, in a separate tweet, said the press was the fourth pillar of India’s democracy and played a great role by shaping opinions and creating awareness.
“On this World Press Day, I salute our media persons for risking their lives to make public aware of various aspects of COVID-19,” he said.
The opposition Congress went on the offensive.
“India slipped two places in World Press Freedom Index to 142. As we commemorate World Press Freedom Day, we must remember that the BJP is hell bent on destroying this fourth pillar of democracy and we shouldn’t let that happen,” the opposition party said on its official Twitter handle.
“To all the journalists we would say, Daro Mat (don’t be scared),” it said.
World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993 on the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. Since then, May 3, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek for the development of a free and pluralistic press, has been celebrated as the World Press Freedom Day.