India, US slide in 2018 World Press Freedom Index

Image used for representational purpose only

Image used for representational purpose only

"It's in Europe, the region where press freedom is the safest, that the regional indicator has worsened most this year", says Christophe Deloire.

India slipped to the 138th position in the World Press Freedom Index and now ranks just above Pakistan.

Today Norway tops the index, Sweden is in second place, then the Netherlands and in fourth place is Finland, which drops down one place since a year ago. "Coverage of regions that the authorities regard as sensitive, such as Kashmir, continues to be very hard".

However, Taiwan's score fell 1.01 points from a year ago to 24.36, due mainly to the threat of China's "growing economic and political pressure" on local media, the report said.

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The report warned that hate crime is another issue plaguing India.

Turkey, which has jailed the highest number of journalists worldwide, is now among the 25 most repressive countries. He frequently decries "fake news", has referred to reporters as the "enemy of the American people" and singles out outlets in critical tweets.

India continued its downward slide in world press freedom index for 2018 released by Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) which presents a gloomy picture overall with the heading "RSF Index 2018: Hatred of journalism threatens democracies".

Verbal abuse towards journalists is also on the increase in Europe and this is the region that respects press freedom the most.

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Afghan government leaders have often said the safety of journalists and providing them with sufficient information is their top priority.

Moreover, the populist politics and the leaders of some countries, for example, the Czech Republic, negatively influence the democracy and freedom of the journalism.

The Reporters Without Borders compiles its annual survey based on several criteria measuring pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, and the quality of the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information. Meanwhile, Russia has been stifling independent voices at home and extending its propaganda network by means media outlets like RT and Sputnik, says RSF. "Xi Jinping's China is getting closer and closer to a contemporary version of totalitarianism", the report mentioned.

The Gambia has seen the biggest improvement in press freedom, rising 21 spots to 122 out of 180. The organisation's report said that "censorship and surveillance have reached unprecedented levels due to the huge use of modern technology" in his first presidential term. However, North Asia's democracies are struggling to defend their models against an all-powerful China which has been a known silencer of dissenting voices.

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The report notes that attacks on the media are "no longer limited to authoritarian countries" and that "democratically elected leaders" no longer see the media as essential.

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