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Freedom of the Press 2016 report : Freedom House

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Freedom of the Press Report 2016 is release by the US based NGO. This report  is a yearly report by US-based non-governmental organization Freedom House, measuring the level of freedom and editorial independence enjoyed by the press in nations and significant disputed territories around the world.

Theme : The Battle for the Dominant Message.

About Freedom House :

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world.

  • It analyze the challenges to freedom, advocate for greater political rights and civil liberties, and support frontline activists to defend human rights and promote democratic change.
  • Founded in 1941, Freedom House was the first American organization to champion the advancement of freedom globally.
  • It recognize that freedom is possible only in democratic political environments where governments are accountable to their own people; the rule of law prevails; and freedoms of expression, association, and belief, as well as respect for the rights of minorities and women, are guaranteed.
  • More than 2.5 billion people live in countries that Freedom House designates “Not Free,” more than a third of the globe’s population.
  • Freedom House acts as a catalyst for greater political rights and civil liberties through a combination of analysis, advocacy, and action.
  • It advocate for U.S. leadership and collaboration with like-minded governments to vigorously oppose dictators and oppression.
  • It amplify the voices of those struggling for freedom in repressive societies and counter authoritarian efforts to weaken international scrutiny of their regimes.
  • It also empower frontline human rights defenders and civic activists to uphold fundamental rights and to advance democratic change.

About the Report :

The report says, only 13 percent of the world’s population enjoys a free press, which means places where coverage of political news is robust, the safety of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and the press is not subject to onerous legal or economic pressures.

  • This means one in seven people live in countries where coverage of political news is robust, the safety of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and the press is not subject to onerous legal or economic pressures.
  • 41 percent of the world’s population has a Partly Free press and 46 percent live in Not Free media environments.
  • Among the countries that suffered the largest declines in 2015 were Bangladesh, Turkey, Burundi, France, Serbia, Yemen, Egypt, Macedonia, and Zimbabwe.
  • The report says that at present about 3.4 billion people live in a country that was rated under the Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016.
  • The report also highlights the six dangerous topics for journalists where they risk Freedom of the pressthemselves and their lives for coverage. These topics are corruption, organised crime, environment and land development, religion, disputed sovereignty and lèse-majesté (the crime of violating majesty) and beyond.

Status in India :

In terms of stories related to environment and land development, the report highlighted the story of two Indian journalists, namely Sandeep Kothari and Jagendra Singh, who were killed.

  • Kothari who covered illegal mining and land grabs was killed in June 2015 and his body was found burned and heavily Jagendra Singh also died from burns allegedly inflicted by local police.
  • In category of states and vigilantes muzzle controversial speech, the report highlights story of a journalist who was burned to death by police after he accused an Uttar Pradesh government minister of corruption.
  • In the same category it also talks about banning of a documentary film on the contentious problem of violence against women in the country, and temporary suspension of broadcasts of Al-Jazeera English because the station showed a map that did not match the government’s position on Kashmir.
  • It says that journalists have faced a wave of threats and physical attacks in recent months.