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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

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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India Should Crack Down Upon The Terror Sympathizers Within The Country

The road to a victory must be undisclosed. More so, when our enemies within the country are more insidious, more intelligent, more brutal and more warlike

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They have systematically misled and “incited” millions of our Indians to voice against the Indian ethos, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly. But mind, all these formidable forces are sweet-hearts of the media.

By: Salil Gewali

After the terrible Pulwama attack by Pakistan sponsored terrorists, India is apparently standing up. Yes, it is practically gearing towards the better strategies to “hit the evil heads”. True, the realization that the enemies are getting more “brutal” and more inhumane than ever before should make India realistic and visionary. Of course, our “battles” to fight against are many, because the adversaries are of various kinds.  While India should send its army deep into the terrorists’ hideouts in Pakistan, India should also “spare its thought” in dealing with those forces who eat, drink and luxuriate in the facilities provided by India, but their hearts ache for something others. There are an increasing number of forces which even try to disestablish the nation and its integrity.

What more? When the questions of sedition are raised against those dangerous forces then the media comes forward to denounce the whole country. Are Kanhaiya  Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Shehla Rashid Shora, Mr. Jignesh Mewani, Arundhati Roy, Rajdeep Sardesai, Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdulla,.. ….  and lot many other leaders from Kashmir….. not inciting our youths?

JNU
There are an increasing number of forces which even try to disestablish the nation and its integrity.

                 They have systematically misled and “incited” millions of our Indians to voice against the Indian ethos, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly. But mind, all these formidable forces are sweet-hearts of the media. The “treacherous adventures” of those people make the majority of Indian intellectuals cheerier and lustier! Each anti-nationalist “scream” by these elements never get wasted. It is effectively used to degrade the nation, demean the culture and denigrated the religion!

The notion of “discrimination” against the particular community or particular religion is in factcreated in the newsrooms. The idea of “intolerance”, which was coined by those people to attack the majority, has just vanished into thin air when the same term was applied otherwise!

nationalism
Each anti-nationalist “scream” by these elements never get wasted. It is effectively used to degrade the nation, demean the culture and denigrated the religion!

              My serious questions —  “has India practically failed to treat its country’s citizens lovingly? Has India ever discriminated its citizens on the basis of religions and languages?” Absolutely not. Here in India the minorities are provided especial facilities, they are well caressed and insanely pampered than the majority.

                       But still, the elite intellectuals and media houses blame the government or certain parties and organizations, and deliberately “ferment the anti-nation” feelings. Bhakt, Sangi are overused terms to belittle any persons who show love towards the nation. Who knows, after few years from now, it will be considered as a crime to praise the country and its culture. Please watch out, enough is enough! India should not faff about any longer. Rather, it should find ways to come down heavily upon such dangerous forces. Bluntly speaking, India should hold down and deal appropriately those subversive forces with equal seriousness and urgency!

media
The TV channels round the clock struggle to broadcast almost every inch of the army’s movement.

Well, the recent three successful strikes by India on 26th February should not be a case of joy either. Because today’s joy could bring a load of sorrows tomorrow! What is most important is the “silent preparedness” for the battles. It can only ensure an easy victory.  The noises only contribute to shaking the firmness and determination of our military forces.

Also Read:  Cloak And Dagger: Indo-Bangla Ties

                 Is it not too childish that we get prior information as to the plans and modus operandi of our fighters onWhatsApp and Facebook these days? I think it is too disgusting; it is ludicrous! The TV channels round the clock struggle to broadcast almost every inch of the army’s movement. Why are the sensitive action plans discussed to the bone in the newsrooms? A bigger mission should be executed under the cover of privacy. Please kindly note we have an equal number of enemies within the country.  Those within the countries may be passionately working to weaken India and its ethos rather than making it stronger. The road to victory must be undisclosed.  More so, when our enemies within the country are more insidious, more intelligent, more brutal and more warlike.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali.