Paris-based independent NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has named 37 heads of state or government who suppress the voice and freedom of the press.
Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, has been named in the “Press freedom predators” gallery published by RSF.
Leaders like Carrie Lam (Hong Kong), Ilham Aliev (Azerbaijan), Imran Khan (Pakistan), Kim Jong-Un (North Korea), Min Aung Hlaing (Myanmar), Mohamed Bin Salman (Saudi Arabia), Prayut Chan-o-Cha (Thailand), Ramzan Kadyrov (Russia), Rodrigo Duterte (Philippines), Xi Jinping (China), Vladimir Putin (Russia) and Sheikh Hasina (Bangladesh) have made it to the list as well.
The report mentioned India’s rank in the World Press Freedom Index 2021, which is 142 of 180 countries while pointing out the predatory method used by Modi i.e. “National-Populism and Disinformation.”
About the Prime Minister, it said, his “leading weapon is to flood the mainstream media with speeches and information tending to legitimize his national-populist ideology.” Furthermore, it highlighted the close ties Modi has developed with billionaire businessmen who own vast media empires.
According to the report, Modi’s “favourite targets” are “sickulars” and “presstitutes”, the pejoratives that are used against journalists or media outlets that question his ideology. However, it noted that only women journalists are called “presstitutes” for instance Rana Ayyub and Barkha Dutt. The journalists’ personal data were leaked online to facilitate attacks along with calls for them to be gang-raped.
It also referred to Gauri Lankesh as the best-known victim of Hindutva, who was shot down outside her home in September 2017.