In its “press freedom” report for 2017, the global media watchdog ‘Reporters Without Borders’ (RWB) has given India a low ranking of 136. The total number of countries mentioned in the report is 180. The report says that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalism is the primary reason for the low ranking. However, India has certainly done better than China that has been ranked even lower at 176. It may be recalled that China does not even have an independent press system. Norway has been ranked at the number one spot in the report.
The report says that due to the rising shift towards nationalism in many countries, press freedom has taken a huge hit globally. The rankings are down for other countries as well such as US, UK and Canada. The report questions that if democratic countries such as US and India cannot ensure freedom of press, then who else is going to do it. The report says that the rise of Donald Trump in the United States is acting as a type of inspiration for other leaders in other countries to shift to the politics of nationalism.
“With Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of “anti-national” thought from the national debate, self-censorship is growing in the mainstream media. Journalists are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by the most radical nationalists, who vilify them and even threaten physical reprisals,” said RWB.