The government does not subscribe to the rankings of the World Press Freedom Index, nor does it agree to the conclusionsdrawn by ‘Reporters Without Borders’, the agency that conducts the rankings, it has stated in Parliament.
“The World Press Freedom Index is published by a foreign non-government organisation, called Reporters Without Borders, and the government does not subscribe to its views and country rankings and does not agree to the conclusions drawn by this organisation,” Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said in a written response in Rajya Sabha.
He said this was due to various reasons, including “very low sample size, little or no weightage to fundamentals of democracy, adoption of a methodology which is questionable and non-transparent”. Thakur was responding to a question by Congress MP Akhilesh Prasad Singh.
He also said that G7 countries and partner countries (including India) adopted a ‘Resilient Democracies Statement’ at the June 2022 G7 Summit which inter alia affirmed their commitment to strengthening the resilience of democracies and working towards equitable, inclusive and sustainable solutions to global challenges.
On the issue of the safety of journalists, Thakur said the central government attaches the highest importance to the safety and security of every citizen of the country, including journalists. An advisory specifically on the safety of journalists was issued to states and Union Territories in October 2017, requesting them to strictly enforce the law to ensure the safety and security of media persons.Also read | ‘Press must remain free if a country is to remain a democracy’: CJI Chandrachud at RNG awards
On another question by Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai on whether the freedom of expression is guaranteed under the Constitution of India and if the right is absolute or there is any restriction on the use or its misuse in electronic or print media, Thakur said that freedom of speech and expression is a constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right to citizens under Article 19(1) with restrictions as stated in Article 19(2).Most Read 1 Gadar 2 box office collection day 4: Sunny Deol film records biggest Monday collections of all time, nets a total of Rs 173 cr 2 Bigg Boss OTT 2 Finale Live Updates: Elvish Yadav wins Salman Khan’s show, Abhishek Malhan shares message from hospital 3 Happy Independence Day 2023: Wishes Images, Whatsapp Messages, Status, Quotes, and Photos 4 OMG 2 box office collection day 4: Pankaj Tripathi-Akshay Kumar film delivers better Monday than opening Friday, earns Rs 55.1 cr 5 Jailer box office collection Day 5: Rajinikanth film set to cross Rs 350-crore mark worldwide on Independence Day
“Under the Article 19(2), the state is empowered to impose reasonable restrictions on the operation of the right in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence,” he stated.Advertisement
In pursuance of its policy to uphold the freedom of the press, the government does not interfere in the functioning of the press, Thakur said. The Press Council of India (PCI), a statutory autonomous body, has been set up under the Press Council Act, 1978, mainly to preserve the freedom of the press and improve the standards of newspapers and news agencies in the country. PCI considers complaints filed ‘by the press’ concerning curtailment of press freedom, physical assault/attack on journalists etc, he said.Also ReadNarendra Modi Independence Day Speech Live Updates: India now identified ...Govt SOP for Judges: Do not name officials for court panelsShivaji statue vandalised in Goa, police initiate inquiry‘Will return to Red Fort next year’: In Independence Day speech, PM Modi ...
For television, all channels are required to adhere to the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, while for digital news publishers, the government has notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 under the IT Act, 2000, which provides for a Code of Ethics for adherence by digital news publishers, he added.© The Indian Express (P) Ltd