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India drops to 140th rank in press freedom, lowest since 2002

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First published: January 30, 2013, 5:59 PM IST | Updated: January 30, 2013
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India drops to 140th rank in press freedom, lowest since 2002
Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea continue to be at the bottom of the list as has been in the last three years.

Washington: India has dropped nine places to 140th rank in the list of 179 countries in the latest World Press Freedom Index, which its authors said is the lowest for the "world's biggest democracy" since 2002.

"In Asia, India (140th, -9) is at its lowest since 2002 because of increasing impunity for violence against journalists and because Internet censorship continues to grow," Reporters Without Borders said in its World Press Freedom Index for the year 2013.

"China (173rd, +1) shows no sign of improving. Its prisons still hold many journalists and netizens, while increasingly unpopular Internet censorship continues to be a major obstacle to access to information."

In 2012, the list was topped by three European countries, Finland, Netherlands and Norway. Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea continue to be at the bottom of the list as has been in the last three years.

"The Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

"In dictatorships, news providers and their families are exposed to ruthless reprisals, while in democracies news providers have to cope with the media's economic crises and conflicts of interest. While their situation is not always comparable, we should pay tribute to all those who resist pressure whether it is aggressively focused or diffuse," he said.

According to the report, in almost all parts of the world, influential countries including India that are regarded as "regional models" have fallen in the index.

Observing that there has been general decline in freedom of information in South Asia, the report said the Indian subcontinent was the Asian region that saw the sharpest deterioration in the climate for those involved in news and information in 2012.

"In the Maldives, which crashed to 103rd place (-30), the events that led to the resignation of President Mohammed Nasheed in February led to violence and threats against journalists in state television and private media outlets regarded as pro-Nasheed by the coup leaders," it said.

In India, the "world's biggest democracy", the authorities insist on censoring the Web and imposing more and more taboos, while violence against journalists goes unpunished and the regions of Kashmir and Chhattisgarh become increasingly isolated," it said.

2013 World Press Freedom Index

1. Finland
2. Netherlands
3. Norway
4. Luxembourg
5. Andorra
6. Denmark
7. Liechtenstein
8. New Zealand
9. Iceland
10. Sweden
11. Estonia
12. Austria
13. Jamaica
14. Switzerland
15. Ireland
16. Czech Republic
17. Germany
18. Costa Rica
19. Namibia
20. Canada
21. Belgium
22. Poland
23. Slovakia
24. Cyprus
25. Cape Verde
26. Australia
27. Uruguay
28. Portugal
29. United Kingdom
30. Ghana
31. Surinam
32. United States
33. Lithuania
34. OECS
35. Slovenia
36. Spain
37. France
38. El Salvador
39. Latvia
40. Botswana
41. Papua New Guinea
42. Romania
43. Niger
44. Trinidad and Tobago
45. Malta
46. Burkina Faso
47. Taiwan
48. Samoa
49. Haiti
50. South Korea
51. Comoros
52. South Africa
53. Japan
54. Argentina
55. Moldova
56. Hungary
57. Italy
58. Hong Kong
59. Senegal
60. Chile
61. Sierra Leone
62. Mauritius
63. Serbia
64. Croatia
65. Central African Republic
66. Tonga
67. Mauritania
68. Bosnia and Herzegovina
69. Guyana
70. Tanzania
71. Kenya
72. Zambia
73. Mozambique
74. Armenia
75. Malawi
76. Republic of the Congo
77. Kuwait
78. Nicaragua
79. Benin
80. Dominican Republic
81. Lesotho
82. Bhutan
83. Togo
84. Greece
85. Kosovo
86. Guinea
87. Bulgaria
88. Madagascar
89. Gabon
90. East Timor
91. Paraguay
92. Guinea-Bissau
93. Seychelles
94. Northern Cyprus
95. Guatemala
96. Ivory Coast
97. Liberia
98. Mongolia
99. Mali
100. Georgia
101. Lebanon
102. Albania
103. Maldives
104. Uganda
105. Peru
106. Kyrgyzstan
107. Fiji
108. Brazil
109. Bolivia
110. Qatar
111. Panama
112. Israel
113. Montenegro
114. United Arab Emirates
115. Nigeria
116. Republic of Macedonia
117. Venezuela
118. Nepal
119. Ecuador
120. Cameroon
121. Chad
122. Brunei
123. Tajikistan
124. South Sudan
125. Algeria
126. Ukraine
127. Honduras
128. Afghanistan
129. Colombia
130. Angola
131. Libya
132. Burundi
133. Zimbabwe
134. Jordan
135. Thailand
136. Morocco
137. Ethiopia
138. Tunisia
139. Indonesia
140. India
141. Oman
142. DR Congo
143. Cambodia
144. Bangladesh
145. Malaysia
146. Palestine
147. Philippines
148. Russia
149. Singapore
150. Iraq
151. Burma
152. Gambia
153. Mexico
154. Turkey
155. Swaziland
156. Azerbaijan
157. Belarus
158. Egypt
159. Pakistan
160. Kazakhstan
161. Rwanda
162. Sri Lanka
163. Saudi Arabia
164. Uzbekistan
165. Bahrain
166. Equatorial Guinea
167. Djibouti
168. Laos
169. Yemen
170. Sudan
171. Cuba
172. Vietnam
173. China
174. Iran
175. Somalia
176. Syria
177. Turkmenistan
178. North Korea
179. Eritrea

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