India has slipped to the 161st position out of 180 countries in the 2023 World Press Freedom Index, a report that was released on May 3, 2023, by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) noted.
The index which was released on World Press Freedom Day reveals that the situation is "very serious" in 31 countries, "difficult" in 42, "problematic" in 55, and "good" or "satisfactory" in 52 countries. The press freedom environment is deemed "bad" in seven out of ten countries, and only "satisfactory" in three out of ten.
India's ranking has fallen by 11 places, with its situation categorized as "very bad." The report said, "In India, media takeovers by oligarchs close to Prime Minister Modi have jeopardised pluralism." The county was ranked 150 in 2022. The highest level of press freedom was found in Norway, Ireland and Denmark, while Vietnam, China and North Korea constituted the bottom three.
The report highlights the impact of fake content in the digital ecosystem, growth of AI technology on press freedom. Most of the countries surveyed have significant disinformation or propaganda campaigns, and political actors are involved systematically. This blurs the lines between truth and falsehood, real and artificial, and threatens the right to information, RSF emphasized.
Additionally, RSF also noted that platforms like Twitter, owned by Elon Musk, are pushing a payment-based approach to information to the extreme and Midjourney, an AI program that produces high-definition images, generates increasingly plausible and undetectable fake photos.
The World Press Freedom Index exposes the volatility of the press freedom environment worldwide. Headquartered in Paris, RSF is an international NGO whose self-proclaimed aim is to defend and promote media freedom.