From death threats to bans, from censorship to beheading by the terror groups such as ISIS, journalists all over the world have been through and go through a lot, each day. With all the news of curbing press’ right to know, to say it out loud and to pass it on to the general public, the question every year we all face is how free is the press if every day we know there are attacks happening on them while they exercised their profession?
On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed unwavering support to the freedom of media, saying it is essential in democracy. "World Press Freedom Day is a day to reiterate our unwavering support towards a free & vibrant press, which is vital in a democracy. In today’s day & age, social media has emerged as an active medium of engagement & has added more vigour to press freedom,” the prime minister said. As Walter Cronkite said: Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.
A total number of 54 attacks on journalists were recorded in last 16 months. The attacks were mainly by "lawmakers and law enforcers”, a report compiled by media watchdog Hoot said on Tuesday. The UNESCO’s official website reads, World Press Freedom Day "celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession”.
In the World Press Freedom Index, India has been ranked at 136th spot which is three spots lower than what it was ranked in the previous year. How Charlie Hebdo got back in its feet after the heart wrenching shooting in 2015 is a punch in the face of all those who tried to scare them off from imagining what the terror groups could never. Charlie Hebdo shot back to the sky pushing those who fear imagining a peaceful world.
Not to forget the beheading of the journalists by the terror group ISIS. Till this date, 193 journalists are lodged in jails worldwide. Is press under threat in India and around the world? Considering how dangerous journalism could be, the youth still willingly jump into the job knowing there could be attacks in future. If in a country, the right to information is shrinking with authorities banning every other thing on internet, the press cannot be truly free.
But anyway, happy World Press Freedom Day to all the journalists out there!