Shooting the Messenger: Review of Constitutional Safeguards and Imminent Threats to Journalism in India


India ranks 140th among 180 countries worldwide in the World Press Freedom Index (WPFI), according to the 2019 report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). In 2018, India was 138th in the same index and 136th in 2016. For the media of the world's largest democracy, this is disconcerting. The slide in the country's press freedom ranking is indicative of a complex and hostile social, political, and economic environment pushing at the boundaries of media that is struggling to perform independently as the fourth estate. Through review of extant literature and news media reports, the study performs a critical analysis of imminent threats to freedom of speech and expression faced by the Indian media. It identifies threats to the Indian media, specifically journalism, from an intensely polarized society and political system, and corporate corruption. It traces both immediate as well as distal factors that breed hostility towards the media, with a focus on press laws and constitutional provisions in India.