Press freedom in India

Press freedom in India


Press freedom in India has been a subject of concern, as highlighted by the latest edition of the press freedom index released by Reporters Without Borders.

  • India’s ranking, although marginally improved from the previous year, remains low compared to other nations. This trend raises questions about the state of media freedom in the country and the challenges faced by journalists.

GS-02 (Polity)

Dimensions of the Article:

  • Press Freedom in India
  • Challenges Faced
  • What Does the Graph Say
  • Importance of Press Freedom for India’s Democracy
  • Institutions Responsible for Protecting Press Freedom
  • Measures to Ensure a Free and Impartial Press

Press Freedom in India:

  • India’s position in the press freedom index has been consistently poor, with rankings over 100 since 2003.
  • The graph illustrates India’s ranking in the index over the years, indicating a rapid erosion of press freedom in recent times. Despite a slight improvement to 159 in the 2024 index, India’s performance remains concerning. The index places India alongside nations like the occupied Palestinian territories, the UAE, Turkey, and Russia in terms of press freedom.

Challenges Faced:

  • Journalists often encounter intimidation, harassment, and violence while performing their duties.
  • Political pressure, censorship, and self-censorship further restrict the media’s ability to report freely.
  • Additionally, the rise of digital surveillance and online censorship poses new challenges to press freedom in the digital age.

What Does the Graph Say:

  • The graph depicts India’s press freedom ranking over the years, highlighting a downward trend in recent times.
  • Despite being ranked over 100 since 2003, India’s position has worsened, reaching its lowest at 161 in the previous year.
  • While there has been a slight improvement to 159 in 2024, the overall trajectory raises concerns about the state of press freedom in the country.

Importance of Press Freedom for India’s Democracy:

  • Press freedom ensures citizens stay informed about current events, enabling active participation in the democratic process.
  • A free press acts as a check on government abuse of power by uncovering corruption and human rights abuses.
  • Journalists hold officials accountable by investigating and reporting on government actions and policies.
  • It promotes transparency in government operations and decision-making processes.
  • A free press provides a platform for diverse perspectives, ensuring the concerns of various communities are heard.
  • It safeguards freedom of expression and the right to know, protecting individual and group rights.
  • It even enhances India’s reputation globally, demonstrating a commitment to democratic values.

Institutions Responsible for Protecting Press Freedom:

  • Press Council of India (PCI)
  • Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
  • News Broadcasters Association (NBA)
  • Editors Guild of India
  • Legal System, including the judiciary
  • International Organizations like Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

Measures to Ensure a Free and Impartial Press:

  • Strengthen legal protections: Reform laws like defamation and sedition to prevent misuse against press freedom and ensure fair legal processes for journalists facing challenges.
  • Establish independent regulatory bodies: Create autonomous media oversight bodies to enforce ethical standards and address violations impartially, free from government influence.
  • Protect journalists and whistleblowers: Enact laws safeguarding journalists from harassment and violence, while providing mechanisms to shield whistleblowers and support their contributions.
  • Promote transparency: Implement freedom of information laws enabling journalists to access government information, and ensure media ownership transparency to maintain diversity and prevent conflicts of interest.
  • Ensure public broadcasting independence: Safeguard the autonomy of public broadcasters from governmental influence, appoint unbiased oversight boards, and secure transparent funding mechanisms.


The state of press freedom in India remains a matter of concern, as reflected in its ranking in the press freedom index. While there have been marginal improvements, the overall trend signals a pressing need for reforms to safeguard journalists’ rights and ensure a free and independent media landscape. Addressing the challenges faced by journalists and media organizations requires concerted efforts from both the government and civil society to uphold democratic values and principles of freedom of expression.