India Place 150th In 180 Countries In World Press Freedom Index 2022; Reporters Without Borders Blames Modi Government For Crackdown
Sadly but unsurprisingly, India fell sharply to 150th place in a list of 180 countries for press freedom, the latest World Press Freedom 2022 report from Reporters Without Borders, a global watchdog, has said.
It now places worse than countries such as Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, UAE, Nigeria, Rwanda and neighboring Sri Lanka. Last year, India had placed at 142.
Already, one journalist has been killed this year. Thirteen are in prison, the report said. On the issue of the security of journalists, India fared even worse, placing at 163 in 180 countries.
“With an average of three or four journalists killed in connection with their work every year, India is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the media,” the report said. “Journalists are exposed to all kinds of physical violence including police violence, ambushes by political activists, and deadly reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt local officials.”
The report called out Hindutva, the ideology of Hindu nationalism, saying that its supporters “wage all-out online attacks on any views that conflict with their thinking. Terrifying coordinated campaigns of hatred and calls for murder are conducted on social media, campaigns that are often even more violent when they target women journalists, whose personal data may be posted online as an additional incitement to violence.
“The situation is also still very worrisome in Kashmir, where reporters are often harassed by police and paramilitaries, with some being subjected to so-called “provisional” detention for several years.”
Modi Faces Mass Protests From Pro-Democracy Supporters In Berlin
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Berlin was welcomed by protests in Berlin, the capital city of Germany. “Modi down down” slogans were reportedly raised by protestors while PM Modi received a guard of honor by German national guards.
PM Modi arrived in Berlin on Monday on the first leg of his three-day Europe visit. He received a ceremonial guard of honor followed by a bilateral meeting with the German chancellor Olaf Scholz. This was their first engagement since Chancellor Scholz assumed office in December 2021.
Protesters held placards that said “Modi mass murderer,” “Indian democracy is dead,” and “Stand with Kashmir.”
Global human rights watchdog group Amnesty International was also present at the protests, with its banners saying “We Don’t Let You Forget Gujarat 2002,” in a reference to the pogrom against Muslims by Hindu extremists in Gujarat state when Modi was its chief minister. It is widely believed that Modi was instrumental in letting the mass murderers carry out the killings as he ordered the police to stand by.
17 more Muslim properties bulldozed by Hindu nationalist government in Gujarat
As many as 17 godowns belonging to Muslims were bulldozed on 28 April by authorities in Khambhat town of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Gujarat. This was the second demolition drive carried out by authorities in the area in less than two weeks.
The Gujarat administrations led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been targeting Muslims ever since communal tensions broke out over anti-Muslim chants during Ram Navami processions in Gujarat and some other states last month.
Sayid, 40, is one of the Muslims whose warehouses were reduced to rubble on 28 April in Gujarat. He estimated that he had suffered losses amounting to Indian Rupees 900,000 (Approx. USD 11,700). “I am on the streets, I have lost everything,” Sayid was quoted by Scroll, a news website, as saying.
Processions led by Hindu extremist groups sparked violence on 10 April in Gujarat’s Khambhat district. Five days after the incident, the local administration razed several Muslim-owned shops.
Scores of Muslims have also been arrested after the 10 April communal tensions in Khambhat.