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Overview of World Press Freedom Index 2024: India ranks 159th, Norway Tops

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India ranks 159 among 180 countries in World Press Freedom IndexAccording to the 22nd edition of the  World Press Freedom Index (WPFI 2024) released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF – Reporters sans frontières in French), India is ranked 159th out of 180 countries with a score of 31.28.

  • India was ranked 161st in 2023 with a score of 36.62.
  • Norway tops the 2024 index for the 8th consecutive year followed by Denmark (2nd) and Sweden (3rd).
  •  The last 3 places are occupied by: Eritrea (180th); Syria (179th), and  Afghanistan (178th).

Note: The index was released by Rebecca Vincent, Director at RSF during the briefing organised by the Foreign Press Association in London, The United Kingdom (UK).

Top 5 in WPFI 2024:

RankCountryGlobal Score

About WPFI:

It is an annual ranking of countries based on the degree of press freedom they provide.

It is compiled and published by Paris (France)-based RSF, a non-profit organisation that has advocated for press freedom worldwide, since 2002.

The index ranks 180 countries on the ability of journalists to work and report freely and independently by covering five categories viz. Political Context, Legal Framework, Economic Context, Social Context and Security.

Overview – India:

India’s performance across the 5 indicators of the index: 


Points to note:

i.The report stated that press freedom is in crisis in India, the world’s largest democracy. As of 3rd May 2024, 9 journalists and 1 media worker have been detained in India.

  • Since January 2024, no journalist/media worker has been killed in India.

ii.According to RSF, India’s media has fallen into an “unofficial state of emergency” since Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

  • The government of India introduced various laws that provide government power to control media. These laws include the 2023 Telecommunications Act, the 2023 draft Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, and the 2023 Digital Personal Data Protection Act”.

iii.The report noted that government-critical journalists face online harassment, threats, and physical attacks, with reporters from Kashmir, Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) often harassed and detained by authorities.

Note: The report highlighted that the improved ranks of some countries are misleading since their scores fell and the index rises were the result of falls by countries previously above them.

Global overview: 

i.The 2024 index revealed a decline in the political indicator, one of five indicators detailed in the Index. The political indicator has fallen the most, registering a global average fall of 7.6 points.

ii.The Maghreb-Middle East region has the worst situation in the 2024 WPFI followed by the Asia-Pacific region. 

iii.less than 10% of the Africa is in a “very serious” situation and almost 50% of the countries are in a “difficult” situation.

Index by regions – Highlights: 

Asia-Pacific region: 

i.The press freedom situation has worsened in the Asia-Pacific region, the score of around 26 of the 32 countries and territories in the region have registered a fall in 2024.

ii.5 countries among the world’s ten most dangerous countries for media personnel  Myanmar (171st), China (172nd), North Korea (177th), Vietnam (174th) and Afghanistan (178th) are from Asia-Pacific region, world’s 2nd most challenging region for journalism.

iii.Notably, Pakistan ranked seven spots above India at 152. It had ranked 150 in 2023. 

Middle East and North Africa region: 

i.Around half of the countries in Middle East and North Africa region face a “very serious” situation.

ii.The United Arab Emirates (UAE) joins 8 other countries in the red zone, including Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Palestine, Iraq, Bahrain, Syria, and Egypt.

iii.Palestine(157th) is the deadliest country for journalists. Qatar is the only country in the region not classified as either ‘difficult’ or ‘very serious’.

Europe-Central Asia:

Countries in Europe, specifically within European Union (EU) were rated good.

Note: EU adopted the European Media Freedom Act(EMFA) on 13th March 2024, which aims to protect journalists and media providers from political and economic interference and to promote media pluralism and editorial independence.

The Concerns:

i.Governments and political authorities increasingly fail to ensure an optimal environment for journalism and the public’s access to reliable, independent, and diverse news.

ii.Governments increasing control over social media and the Internet resulted in limiting access, blocking accounts, and suppressing news and information.

iii.Certain political factions incite hatred and distrust towards journalists through insults, discrediting, and threats.

World Press Freedom Day 2024: 44 environmental journalists have been murdered in last 15 years, UN report finds

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2024 (3rd May 2024), The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released a report titled “Press and Planet in Danger:safety of environmental journalists; trends, challenges and recommendations”.

  • The report highlighted that a total of 44 journalists reporting on environmental issues were killed in 15 different countries between 2009 and 2023, with only 5 cases resulting in convictions. Around 24 journalists survived murder attempts.

Note: The report was released during the 2024 World Press Freedom Day Global Conference held in Santiago, Chile from May 2-4, 2024.

About the report: 

i.The report is the output of the joint survey conducted by the UNESCO and the Brussels, Belgium-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) with 905 respondents from 129 countries.

ii.This is a part of the UNESCO series World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development.

iii.It examines attacks against journalists covering environmental issues over the past 15 years.


i.Over 70% of journalists surveyed reported being attacked, threatened, or pressured.

ii.Violence against journalists rose from 249 attacks (2009-2023) to 305 attacks (2019-2023).

iii.For every ten attacks in the data, state actors(police, military forces, government officials and employees) committed at least five. Attacks by state actors went up from 111 in the 2014-2018 to 174 in 2019-2023.

iv.Journalists covering environmental protests, mining, and land conflicts faced the highest number of attacks.

v.About 33% of respondents experienced internal censorship (newsroom) due to conflicts of interest in reporting on environmental issues, affecting 45% of journalists surveyed.


As per the report, amid the global environmental crisis, supporting environmental reporting is vital. Advocacy groups, journalism networks, donors, and multilateral organizations must prioritize press freedom and journalist safety. Providing funding and resources to train and equip journalists, especially those at the local level, is essential for safe coverage of environmental issues.

About the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
Director-General– Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters– Paris, France
Establishment– 1945 (came into force in 1946)
Members– 194 Members and 12 Associate Members