India Press Freedom Report, 2021

The India Press Freedom Report, 2021 was recently released by the Rights and Risks Analysis Group. According to the report, 13 media houses and newspapers were targeted in the country, 108 journalists were attacked, and 6 journalists were killed.

Key Findings

  • The highest number of journalist attack was in Jammu and Kashmir. J&K faced more than 25 attacks. The second highest was in Uttar Pradesh with 23. UP was followed by Madhya Pradesh (16), Tripura (15), Delhi (8), Bihar (6), Assam (5), Haryana(4) and Maharashtra (4), Goa (3), Manipur (3), Karnataka (2), West Bengal (2), Tamil Nadu (2), Andhra Pradesh (1), Kerala (1), Chhattisgarh (1).
  • Jammu and Kashmir had maximum number of attacks. On the other hand, Tripura had maximum number of attacks by non – state actors.
  • Eight women journalists faced summons, FIR and arrest.
  • 24 journalists were attacked physically, obstructed, threatened, and harassed for doing their works. All these attacks were made by public officials. This includes police attacks as well. 17 of these attacks were police attacks.
  • 44 FIRs were registered against journalists in 2021. Of this 21 were registered under Section 153 of IPC.

Section 153 of IPC

Any person who does things that are illegal or provocative to others shall be punished with imprisonment.

Inference

The civic space in the country is deteriorating. Some of the protagonists in the country are of the opinion that IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) rules is one of the standing proof that current ruling government is cracking down press freedom.

IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) rules

The rules were framed to regulate digital content. They were framed under IT Act, 2000. The rules say that Monthly report should be produced by media platforms. Grievance portals should be created over OTTs in the country.  Social media should appoint chief compliance officer. Social media platforms should remove the content if there are complaints over dignity of the user.

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