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World Press Freedom Index- UPSC Current Affairs

May 09, 2022

World Press Freedom Index

In today's edition of our Current Affairs Dialog Box, we will discuss World Press Freedom Index and its relevance to the UPSC CSE syllabus.

This topic is important and should be studied in-depth during the UPSC exam preparation.

For Prelims: World Press Freedom Index, Current Events of National and International Importance

For Mains:  Freedom of Press

Also read: Taxation on Petrol and Diesel

Why in the News?

According to the latest report released by the global media watchdog, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), India has secured 150 ranks out of 180 countries in the 2022 World Press Freedom Index. 


Image Source: Statista

Probable Question

Discuss the various provisions enshrined in the Indian constitution, which acts as the bulwark of freedom of the press in India.  

Key Points

About World Press Freedom Index

  • The index was released on May 3, observed as World Press Freedom Day.
    • The theme of World Press Freedom Day 2022 is: “Journalism under Digital Siege.”
  • Objective: To compare the level of press freedom enjoyed by journalists and media in 180 countries and territories” in the previous calendar year.
  • Methodology: 
    • Countries are ranked after being assigned a score ranging from 0 to 100, with 100 representing the highest possible level of press freedom and 0 the worst. 
    • The scoring has two components: 
      • Quantitative Analysis: It tallies abuses against journalists and media outlets, and
      • Qualitative Analysis: It is based on the responses of press freedom specialists (journalists, researchers, human rights defenders) to an RSF questionnaire.
  • Contextual Indicators: Countries are evaluated on five contextual indicators: 
    • Political context
    • Legal framework
    • Economic context
    • Socio-cultural context and safety.  
  • Media Polarisation: The report flags a “two-fold increase in polarisation amplified by information chaos — that is, media polarisation fuelling divisions within countries, as well as polarization between countries at the international level.”     

Performance of Countries

  • Top Performers:
    • Norway (1st)
    • Denmark (2nd)
    • Sweden (3rd) 
    • Estonia (4th) 
    • Finland (5th)
  • Ranking of India’s Neighbouring countries:
  • Pakistan (157th)
  • Sri Lanka (146th)
  • Bangladesh (162nd)
  • Myanmar (176th)
  • Moldova (40th) and Bulgaria (91st) for drastic improvements in press freedom due to a “government change”.       
  • The World’s 10 worst countries for press freedom include Myanmar (176th), China (175th), Turkmenistan (177th), Iran (178th), Eritrea (179th) and North Korea (180th).

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What does the Index say about India?         

  • The report notes that “journalists are exposed to all kinds of physical violence including police violence, ambushes by political activists, and deadly reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt local officials.
  • The violence against journalists, the politically partisan media and the concentration of media ownership all demonstrate that press freedom is in crisis”. 
Reporters Without Borders (RSF):

RSF is an international NGO whose self-proclaimed aim is to defend and promote media freedom.

Headquarters: Paris. It has consultative status with the United Nations. 

How does RSF define Press Freedom?

  • The RSF defines press freedom as “the ability of journalists as individuals and collectives to select, produce, and disseminate news in the public interest independent of political, economic, legal, and social interference and in the absence of threats to their physical and mental safety.”


  • The World Press Freedom Index is a point of reference that is quoted by media throughout the world and is used by diplomats and international entities such as the United Nations and the World Bank.
  • It is a snapshot of the media freedom situation based on an evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework and safety of journalists in each country and region. 

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