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What are the key findings of Freedom of the Press Report

Press freedom in 2015 declined to lowest point in 12 years

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Utkal Deepika. Wikimedia Commons
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Freedom of the Press is an annual report on media independence around the world, produced by Freedom House, a watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world.

https://youtu.be/oAf3J6eF3yk

The report assesses the degree of print, broadcast and digital media freedom in 199 countries and territories.

Freedom of the Press 2016, key findings:

• Press freedom in 2015 declined to lowest point in 12 years.

• Report blames political, criminal and terrorist forces behind efforts to silence media.

• Loss of press freedom primarily linked to heightened partisanship in many countries, and the degree of extralegal intimidation and physical violence faced by journalists.

What is a free press? Area where political news is robust, safety of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and press is not subject to onerous legal or economic pressures.

Media access

31: percentage of countries with a free press
36: percentage with a partly free press
33: percentage with no free press

13: percentage of world’s population that lives with a free press
41: percentage that lives with a partly free press
46: percentage that lives with no free press

10 worst countries and territories

Belarus, Crimea, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

Countries with largest 1-year decline in press freedom

Bangladesh, Turkey, Burundi, France, Serbia, Yemen, Egypt, Macedonia and Zimbabwe

Nauru

Report cites the tiny Pacific island nation as the country with the largest loss of press freedom because it began assessing thousands of dollars in fees against journalists wanting to enter the country or blocking their entry altogether, apparently in an effort to silence reports about migrants being held in Nauru who are seeking asylum in Australia.

Bright points in report

Report found two countries moved to ease restrictions on journalists in 2015.

Sri Lanka: After new government was installed, fewer threats and attacks aimed at journalists, and blocks against Internet websites were lifted.

Burkina Faso: Officials dropped prison sentences as punishment for libel, and state interference in news content was curtailed, the report found.

Dangerous issues for media coverage

• Organized crime

• Corruption

• Environment/land development

• Religion

• Disputed Sovereignty

• Lese-majeste (injured magesty)

Countries to watch

The report attributed the declines to a rise in the authoritarian nature of some governments, such as those in Tajikistan, Egypt and Turkey; security situations that have become more dangerous, such as in Libya, Yemen and Burundi; blasphemy laws, such as in Brunei, and tighter government control of state-owned media, such as Poland.

72: Number of countries showing a decline in freedom for the year
43: Number of countries that made gains.

Middle East and North Africa region: Received the worst ratings for press freedom, followed closely by Eurasia.

Freedom on the Net Report

Internet freedom declined for the fifth consecutive year in 2015, report finds.

More governments

• Censored information of public interest

• Expanded surveillance

• Cracked down on privacy tools

Source: Freedom of the Press 2016, Freedom House

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Copyright 2016 NewsGram

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Editorial Freedom Should be used Wisely in Public Interest says PM Narendra Modi to Media

Prime Minster Narendra Modi on Monday said that editorial freedom should be used in public interest and urged the newspapers to devote space to increase awareness about climate change

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Editorial Freedom
PM Narendra Modi speaks about Editorial Freedom. Wikimedia

Chennai, Nov 6: Prime Minster Narendra Modi on Monday said that editorial freedom should be used in public interest and urged the newspapers to devote space to increase awareness about climate change.

Speaking at the 75th anniversary celebrations of Tamil newspaper Daily Thanthi at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium, Modi said lot of things happen around the world and the editors decide what is important to be published in their newspapers.

He said: “Editorial freedom should be used wisely and in public interest.”

Pointing out the natural calamities occurring around the world at regular intervals, PM Modi urged newspapers to allocate space to increase awareness about climate change.

Narendra Modi said the freedom to write does not in anyway reduce the importance to be accurate and correct, adding that though media outlets may be owned by the private sector, they serve a public purpose, have much social accountability and their conduct should be above board.

editorial freedom
Media must use editorial freedom with public interest, says PM Modi. Wikimedia.

He said technological advancement enables citizens to compare, discuss and analyse the credibility of news and the media should take extra caution to maintain its credibility.

According to him, reform in media can come from within and through introspection.

Observing most of the media discourse revolves around politics, Modi said the nation is made of over a billion people and the media should focus on the people and their achievements.

Citing the spread of mobile phones, Modi said citizen reporting is important in showcasing individual achievements and also helping in the aftermath of natural disasters.

PM Narendra Modi also released a souvenir.

Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of State for Finance and Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami and his deputy O.Pannerselvam also participated in the function.

Paying encomiums to the founder of Daily Thanthi S.P. Adithanar and his son Sivanthi Adithan, Palaniswami said the daily would certainly see centenary celebrations.

Leaders of several political parties, law makers, industrialists, movie actors and diplomats attended the function.

Earlier on his arrival PM Modi was received by Purohit, Palaniswami and others at the airport.

From the airport Modi reached the INS Adyar naval base here in a helicopter.

At INS Adyar, Modi had a meeting with Palaniswami and discussed about the rain and relief situation in Chennai and neighbouring districts. (IANS)