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Committed To Ensure Right To Freedom & Expression; Disagree With Foreign 'World Press Freedom Index' Rankings : Centre Tells Lok Sabha

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
9 Feb 2022 4:42 AM GMT
Committed To Ensure Right To Freedom & Expression; Disagree With Foreign  World Press Freedom Index Rankings : Centre Tells Lok Sabha
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The Centre stated in Lok Sabha that it is committed to ensure the right to freedom of speech and expression. It said that the World Press Freedom Index is published by a foreign Non-Government-Organisation, "Reporters Without Borders" and thus it does not subscribe to its views and country rankings. "Government does not agree to the conclusions drawn by this organisation for...

The Centre stated in Lok Sabha that it is committed to ensure the right to freedom of speech and expression. 

It said that the World Press Freedom Index is published by a foreign Non-Government-Organisation, "Reporters Without Borders" and thus it does not subscribe to its views and country rankings. 

"Government does not agree to the conclusions drawn by this organisation for various reasons including very low sample size, little or no weightage to fundamentals of democracy, adoption of a methodology which is questionable and non-transparent, lack of clear definition of press freedom etc.", the Ministry of Home Affairs said in response to a query by MP Manish Tewari.

MP Manish Tewari had asked the following questions (1) whether the journalists in Kashmir and whole of India are frequently penalized by State agencies under Indian Penal Code, UAPA and other penal laws, if so, the details thereof; (2) whether due to such abhorrent coercion, India holds a poor 142nd position on the World Press Freedom Index.  Minister of State Nityanand Rai replied as follows:

  1. The Government is committed to ensure the right to freedom of speech and expression enshrined under the Article 19 of the Constitution of India. Press Council of India (PCI), a statutory autonomous body, has been set up under the Press Council Act, 1978 mainly to preserve the freedom of the Press and improve the standards of newspapers and news agencies in the country. PCI considers complaints filed „by the Press‟ concerning curtailment of press freedom, physical assault/ attack on journalists etc. under Section 13 of the Press Council Act 1978. PCI is also empowered to take suo-motu cognizance in matters on the pressing issues concerning freedom of Press and safeguarding of its high standards. Such complaints are processed under Section 13 of the Press Council Act, 1978 and provisions of the Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) Regulations, 1979.
  2. The World Press Freedom Index is published by a foreign Non-Government-Organisation, "Reporters Without Borders". The Government does not subscribe to its views and country rankings and does not agree to the conclusions drawn by this organisation for various reasons including very low sample size, little or no weightage to fundamentals of democracy, adoption of a methodology which is questionable and non-transparent, lack of clear definition of press freedom etc.

The MP had also sought the details about the news that on 15 January 2022, members of Kashmir Police & CRPF entered the premises of Kashmir Press Club without due warrant or documentation and aided a hostile takeover.

"Presently, there is no registered body by the name of „Kashmir Press Club‟ or its elected managing body since Kashmir Press Club, as a registered body, has ceased to exist and has failed to register itself under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. The Estates Department has taken over the government building on 17.1.2022 in the presence of Executive Magistrate, Srinagar. The government building has deployment of static guard for its protection.", the reply reads.

 Click here to read/download the statement

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