Over the last few years, India's rank in the global press freedom index has dropped several notches. According to the list released by Reporters without Borders in April 2020, India now ranks 142 in the Index.
"With no murders of journalists in India in 2019, as against six in 2018, the security situation for the country’s media might seem, on the face of it, to have improved. However, there have been constant press freedom violations, including police violence against journalists, ambushes by political activists, and reprisals instigated by criminal groups or corrupt local officials," the .
And while many have argued that this is simply part of the whole picture and questioned the methodology used for the rankings, it would seem there there are certainly some grave issues that ought to be addressed.
Take Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya for example. In a video clip that was shared on social media by The Free Press Journal's Amit Srivastava, the Minister can be heard suggesting that journalists join politics when asked him a question.
Maurya was holding a press conference.
Earlier, on Monday night, a journalist working with a Hindi news channel was shot dead in Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh. He had been identified as Ratan Singh (45).
The Uttar Pradesh Police has arrested three relatives of Ratan Singh in connection with murder. The three people who have arrested are identified as Dinesh Singh, Arvind Singh, and Suneel Singh.
According to the police, the journalist was involved in a property dispute with Dinesh Singh. "Ratan had a dispute regarding property with his neighbor. On Monday evening, there was a fight between the two sides, and the neighbour shot at him. Accused Dinesh Singh is also Ratan Singh's parcener," Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar told news agency PTI.
Meanwhile, Ratan Singh's father Vinod Singh has said that the police are lying and trying to coverup the case. Vinod Singh also alleged that village head Jhabar Singh hatched a conspiracy and killed his son. "We received information in the evening at around 5:30 pm that village head Jhabar Singh's brother Sonu had a fight with my son. My son went to his house in the evening and they killed him there. They have also killed my elder son three years ago," Vinod Singh told ANI.