2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) covers 180 countries and territories. It notes that the number of countries regarded as safe for journalists is on the decline. India is no exception. In 2018, at least six Indian journalists were killed. India’s rank fell by two places to 140 from 138 — in 2016 it was 133 and in 2017 it was 136.
The report notes that organised campaigns by supporters of Hindutva “to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ thought from the national debate” is putting journalists in danger. Women journalists are particularly at the receiving end, and covering sensitive but important topics of public interest such as separatism in Jammu and Kashmir and Maoist insurgency has become more difficult. Authorities use anachronistic sedition laws against journalists, who also face the wrath of militants and criminal gangs.