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Project August 5, 2019

No Journalism Left In Rural India?


The Times of India. Image by Homesh Nasre / India, 2019.
The Times of India. Image by Homesh Nasre / India, 2019.

India is the largest democracy in the world. However, India's low press freedom index is only slightly better than war-torn countries like Syria or Afghanistan.

The erroneous perception internationally that a county as "democratic" as India rarely gags its media needs serious reconsideration. More than 12 journalists were killed in India in 2018, and most of them were from small towns and villages. Journalists are harassed by paid trolls of the ruling party. And Indian sedition and defamation laws disallow free speech.

There are no journalists left in rural India—those that used to be journalists are now merely news gatherers. Moreover, since they collect advertising for the newspapers they work for, there is no line between news and business. The struggles of these men—and very few women—illustrate the challeges to democracy in India. Local politicians and businessmen ensure that reportage on corruption does not get out.