New Delhi: India has come down to the 138th rank, losing two points than the previous year, in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index Report released by global watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) today.
The report blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “troll army” for spreading and amplifying hate speeches targeting journalists and writers on social networks.
“In India (down from 136 ranking in 2017), hate speech targeting journalists is shared and amplified on social networks, often by troll armies in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pay list,” it said.
“With Hindu nationalists trying to purge all expressions of what they call ‘anti-national’ thought from the national debate, self-censorship is growing in the mainstream media and journalists are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by the most rabid and radical nationalists, who vilify them and even threaten with physical consequences,” the report said.
It mentioned that at least three of the journalists, including Gauri Lankesh murdered in 2017, were targeted in connection with their so-called ‘anti-national” work.