As the world observes 26th World Press Freedom day, it has already lost 44 journalists in the four months this year alone, data made available by Geneva-based Press Emblem Campaign has revealed. The first death, according to PEC, happened in Mexico city in January this year. According to PEC, the most dangerous countries for journalists, as per data till April 30, are Afghanistan with 11 deaths, Mexico (4), Syria (4), Equador (3), India (3) and Yemen (3).
As per PEC data for 2017, a total of 99 journalists were killed, with Mexico being the most vulnerable for journalists. India was put at fourth with 7 deaths last year.
The revelation came on a day when Chota Rajan was sentenced for the murder of journalist Jyotirmoy Day. However, the situation is still not impressive if one considers the number of incidents targetting journalists. India is ranked at 136 in the Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders. India stood at 133 last year.
However, the press in India enjoys much freedom than many developing countries. The Indian Constitution provides for Freedom of Press under Article 19(1)(a) under Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression. Although it does not specifically mention press freedom, Supreme Court has from time to time held that press freedom is a part of basic structure of the Constitution.
Courts in India have upheld press freedom in a number of cases, observing that even if the Constitution does not mention freedom of the press in Article 19(1) (a), the freedom is contained in it and there cannot be interference in press freedom in the name of public interest.
Meanwhile, the recent death of nine journalists in Afghanistan, AFP photographer Shah Marai among them, is an alarm for the world to ensure the safety of journalists who are working in extremely difficult parts of the world.