LONDON: India has dropped two places on a global press freedom index to be ranked 142nd out of 180 countries in the annual Reporters Without Borders analysis released on Tuesday.
'The World Press Freedom Index 2020' said that 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," it said.
It attributed the decline in index to "pressure on the media to toe the Hindu nationalist government's line."
The "coordinated hate campaigns" waged on social networks against journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that annoy Hindutva followers are "alarming", it said.
"The campaigns are particularly virulent when the targets are women," it said.
Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), or Reporters Without Borders, is a non-profit organisation that works to document and combat attacks on journalists around the world.
South Asia in general features poorly on the index, with Pakistan dropping three places to 145, and Bangladesh dropping one place to 151.
Norway is ranked first in the Index for the fourth year running.
China at 177th position is just three places above North Korea, which is at 180th.