World Press Freedom Day, or the World Press Day, is being observed every year on the 3rd of May, since 1993. The day every year is dedicated to raising awareness about the freedom of the press.
Press or media in our democracy has been attributed as the fourth pillar with a belief that the press renders trustworthy and reliable facts and information. The World Press Day is also marked as an occasion to commemorate the sacrifices made by the journalists in pursuit of truth and facts.
The theme for World Press Day 2020 was” Journalism Without Fear and Favour” with some issues highlighted this year, like the gender equality ratio in all aspects of media, safety and stability of both men and women in the media fraternity, the political and commercial influence on media and professional journalism.
With this the Reporters Without Borders or the Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), a non-profit and non-governmental organisation inspired by Article-19 of UN Declaration of Human Rights that recognises the right to receive and share information regardless of frontiers, along with other international rights charters, issues an annual report called the ‘World Press Freedom Index’ which ranks countries based on the freedom provided to their respective media houses.
In the 2020 RSF World Press Freedom Index, India ranks 142 out of 180 countries with Norway topping the list and North Korea maintaining the 180th position. India, this year has seen a drop of two positions compared to 2019 (140th rank) and a slip of four positions than 2018 (138th rank). The new rank leaves India behind Bhutan, Nepal and Srilanka. This has been blamed on the blackout in Indian-administered Kashmir and the failure of Indian media to report transparently on the issue.
However, the Union Information and Broadcasting minister, Prakash Javadekar slammed the reports in a tweet saying the government will soon expose the surveys and will stand the reports wrong that portray a bad picture of the Indian press and the freedom of the press in India.