SC Judge Points to India’s Slide on Press Freedom

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Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Supreme Court judge Justice KM Joseph on Tuesday drew attention towards India’s press freedom ranking while hearing petitions challenging the remission granted to Bilkis Bano case convicts, LiveLaw reported.

“Weekly there are one lakh newspapers in India. I hope I don’t get misquoted, but in the ranking, we are now at 161, in terms of journalistic freedom,” the judge said when the court ordered newspaper publication for notice to respondents in the case, according to the report.

“It depends upon who is giving the ranking…I can have my own form and give India the first place,” said the solicitor general, objecting to the remark, LiveLaw reported.

On World Press Day last week, India slumped by 11 places to rank 161 among 180 nations in the new World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders – an international organisation advocating free and reliable information.

The downward slide continues even as the Narendra Modi government maintains that it does not subscribe to the findings of the “non-transparent” index while questioning the RSF’s methodology. RSF termed it an attempt to “destabilise” the index.

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