Pakistan has improved its ranking on the World Press Freedom Index, climbing seven places to 150 out of 180 countries. However, the country’s media outlets, including privately-owned ones, are largely dependent on government funding through state sector ads and legal announcements, which puts editorial policy at risk of government interference. Additionally, Pakistan remains one of the deadliest countries for journalists, with frequent murders that often go unpunished.
In contrast, India’s ranking on the Freedom Index has dropped to 161, with the country’s media facing takeovers by oligarchs close to Prime Minister Modi. Overall, the report highlights that the environment for journalists is rated as “bad” in 70% of the countries in the ranking. Vietnam and China are among the worst countries for press freedom, with Vietnam having almost completed its hunt for independent reporters and commentators, while China is the world’s largest jailer of journalists.
According to Reporters Without Borders, journalism is being battered by propaganda and increasingly sophisticated fakes, aided by AI software, and a failure of oversight from tech companies. The report also highlights that political interference in media is gaining ground in many countries, with two-thirds of countries having political actors who are often involved in disinformation or propaganda campaigns. Russia, India, and China are cited as examples.