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Press Freedom Index 2022

Press Freedom Index 2022- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges– Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

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प्रेस स्वतंत्रता सूचकांक 2022

Press Freedom Index 2022 in News

  • Recently, the Press Freedom Index 2022 was published by Reporters Without Borders (RWS) or Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF).
  • The Press Freedom Index highlights the disastrous effects of news and information chaos – the effects of a globalised and unregulated online information space that encourages fake news and propaganda.
  • The 20th World Press Freedom Index reveals a two-fold increase in polarisation amplified by information chaos – that is, media polarisation fuelling divisions within countries, as well as polarisation between countries at the international level.

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Press Freedom Index 2022- India’s Ranking

  • Worst Performance: India fell to the 150th position in the Press Freedom Index 2022. It is lowest ever rank of India (out of 180 countries) in the Press Freedom Index.
    • In the last edition (Press Freedom Index 2021), India was ranked eight positions higher, at 142.
  • Countries Behind India: Countries ranked lower than India in Press Freedom Index 2022 include Sudan (151), Russia (155), Pakistan (157), Bangladesh (162) and China (175).
  • Countries Performing Better than India: Nepal has climbed up by 30 points in the global ranking at 76th position.
    • Sri Lanka also ranked above India with 146th ranking in the Press Freedom Index 2022.
  • Best and Worst Performance in Categories: India ranked best in the legal framework category and worst in the safety of journalist’s category.

Farmer Distress Index


Press Freedom Index- Global Scenario

  • Top Performers: Norway (1st) Denmark (2nd), Sweden (3rd) Estonia (4th) and Finland (5th) grabbed the top positions in the Press Freedom Index 2022.
  • Bottom Ranking Country: North Korea remained at the bottom of the list of the 180 countries and territories in the Press Freedom Index.
  • Russia Ukraine War: Russia was placed at 155th position, down from 150th last year on the Press Freedom Index 2022.
    • The invasion of Ukraine (106th) by Russia (155th) at the end of February reflects this process, as the physical conflict was preceded by a propaganda war.
  • China’s Ranking: China climbed up by two positions with the Reporters Without Borders placing it at 175th position on the Press freedom index 2022.
    • Last year, China was placed at 177th position on the press freedom index.


About Press Freedom Index

  • About: Press Freedom Index annually ranks countries and regions according to the level of freedom available to journalists.
    • Note: press freedom index does not measure quality of journalism prevalent in a country or region.
  • Publishing Organization: Press Freedom Index 2022 has been published every year since 2002 by Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) or Reporters Without Borders.
    • RSF is based in Paris and is an independent NGO with consultative status with the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF).
  • Categories: The Press Freedom Ranking is based on a country’s performance in five broad categories-
    • Political context,
    • Legal framework,
    • Economic context,
    • Sociocultural context and
    • Safety of journalists.

Categories under Press Freedom Index

Political Context

  • The degree of support and respect for media autonomy vis-à-vis political pressure from the state or from other political actors
  • The level of acceptance of a variety of journalistic approaches satisfying professional standards, including politically aligned approaches and independent approaches
  • The degree of support for the media in their role of holding politicians and government to account


Legal framework

  • The degree to which journalists and media are free to work without censorship or judicial sanctions
  • The ability to access information without discrimination, and the ability to protect sources
  • The presence or absence of impunity for those responsible for acts of violence against journalists


Economic context

  • Economic constraints linked to governmental policies (including the difficulty of creating a news media outlet, favouritism in the allocation of state subsidies
  • Economic constraints linked to non-state actors (advertisers and commercial partners)
  • Economic constraints linked to media owners seeking to promote or defend their business interests


Sociocultural context

  • Social constraints resulting from denigration and attacks on the press based on such issues as gender, class, ethnicity and religion
  • Cultural constraints, including pressure on journalists to not question certain bastions of power or influence or not cover certain issues


Safety of journalists

Ability to gather news without unnecessary risk of:

  • Bodily harm (including murder, violence, arrest, detention and abduction)
  • Psychological or emotional distress that could result from intimidation, coercion, harassment, surveillance, doxing (publication of personal information with malicious intent), degrading or hateful speech, smears and other threats targeting journalists
  • Professional harm resulting from, for example, the loss of one’s job, the confiscation or professional equipment, or the ransacking of installations.


Fundamental Rights (Articles 12-35)- Right to Freedom (Article 19-22)


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