India’s Press Freedom Score Plummets by 30% Year on Year

India has been widely seen as one of the most powerful democracies in the world, spurred in no small part by their massive population which the government has tried hard to enfranchise into the voting process. In spite of the fact that this is the case, the current ruling party BJP has committed a wide array of violations on journalistic integrity which has caused the nation’s press freedom score to plummet to just 41 points.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that India’s score just under 60 back in 2013, and while it slowly declined over the past decade it still hovered above the 50 point mark until last year. The final nail in India’s coffin came amidst allegations of Islamophobia against the government when a member of the BJP made disparaging remarks about the Prophet Muhammad.

A Muslim journalist by the name of Mohammed Zubair has been arrested by the Indian government. The justification for this arrest is an ostensibly anti-Hindu tweet that he posted in 2018, but it is no coincidence that he was among the first few journalists to comment on the Islamophobic remarks with all things having been considered and taken into account.

Such actions are disastrous because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up further oppressing the Muslim minority in India, something that has been occurring increasingly frequently as of late. India’s rankings in the press freedom index fell by 10 places, and it now occupies the 150th place in the list.

The sociopolitical situation in India is tense, and such assaults on journalists are only going to make matters worse. The international community has reacted with criticism and outrage after this arrest, and the Indian government’s attempts at damage control have shown mixed results. Increasing Islamophobia and Hindu supremacist rhetoric by the ruling BJP has created a hostile climate for minorities, with attacks on them rising each year. Such a situation might not be sustainable and it might strip India of its title as a true democracy.

H/T: Statista.

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