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In Response to Media Coverage of Crimes Against Minorities, A BJP-Affiliated Think Tank Proposed Guidelines Curtailing Editorial Independence -Kaushal Shroff

-CaravanMagazine.in Crimes against minorities in India, specifically Dalits and Muslims, have risen dramatically since the Bharatiya Janata Party government led by Narendra Modi came to power in 2014. A reasonable reaction to such hate crimes would have included increasing the allocation of funds to policing machinery at the local and state level. Instead, the Public Policy Research Centre, a BJP-affiliated think tank, had proposed that the state respond by shooting the messenger—that is, the media. In March last year, the think tank released a report making numerous recommendations about the manner in which media organisations ought to function. If adopted, these guidelines would considerably erode the editorial independence of Indian media establishments. In early April this year, the Prime Minister’s Office ordered the withdrawal of a circular passed by the information and broadcasting ministry, which proposed guidelines to punish journalists found to have “created and/or propagated” fake news. As per the proposal,...

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Troll army tells on media rank -Anita Joshua

-The Telegraph New Delhi: Narendra Modi's India has caught up with Donald Trump's United States at least on one count: both have fallen by two notches on the World Press Freedom Index. Worse for India, it has found mention in a general analysis by the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) where a direct allegation is being levelled about "troll armies in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pay". India, the chapter on which is titled "Deadly Threat from Modi's Nationalism", slipped from 136 to 138th rank among 180 countries mapped by the watchdog. The US - run by Trump who has borrowed Josef Stalin's phrase "enemies of the people" to describe reporters - has also stumbled two places to the 45th position. This is the second consecutive year when India has fallen in the global rankings: 133 in RSF's 2016 index, 136 in 2017 and 138 now. RSF lays the blame squarely at the doorstep of...

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India's ranking in press freedom falls two places to 138: Watchdog

-PTI The Reporters Without Borders cites the case of the killing of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, and warns that hatecrime is another issue plaguing India. London: India’s ranking in the Press Freedom Index has fallen two places to 138, a watchdog said on Wednesday in an annual report, blaming “physical violence” against journalists like Gauri Lankesh as the key reason behind the country’s low ranking. Norway topped the list of having the world’s freest press for the second year in a row, the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said while North Korea remained the most repressive country followed by Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Syria and then China. India’s ranking has fallen two places to 138th position in a ranking of 180 countries. The report warned that hatecrime is another issue plaguing India. “Hate speech is also an issue in the continent’s other giant, India, which has fallen another two places to 138th. Ever since Narendra Modi became prime minister...

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BJP tops hate speech list

-PTI New Delhi: As many as 58 current MPs and MLAs have declared cases related to hate speeches, with the BJP having the maximum number of such politicians, a report said on Wednesday. "Fifteen sitting Lok Sabha MPs have declared cases related to hate speech against themselves. None of the Rajya Sabha MPs have declared cases related to hate speech," a report by the Delhi-based think tank Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said. Ten sitting Lok Sabha MPs with such declared cases are from the BJP, with the rest being members of the AIUDF, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), PMK, AIMIM and the Shiv Sena, it said. "Political party leaders such as Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) and Badruddin Ajmal (AIUDF) have declared cases related to hate speech against themselves," ADR said. Uma Bharti, a Union minister, has also declared such cases as also eight state ministers, the report added. Please click here to read more. ...

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Rebel 'retirement' -- the ground reality -Rumela Sen

-The Hindu Business Line Informal networks play a key role in building a trust mechanism that dispels the fear in rebels to quit insurgency groups How do rebels quit armed groups and return to the same political processes they had once sought to overthrow? A lot has been written on why men and women rebel. But we know very little about why and how rebels quit. This is, however, a predominant concern among policy-makers now, from Nepal to Colombia. In my forthcoming book, I examine this question in the context of the ongoing Maoist insurgency in India. Data show that between 2005 and 2012, 781 rebels quit the Maoist insurgency in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. By contrast, only 54 rebels in Jharkhand and 39 in West Bengal quit the same insurgent group during the same period. Moreover, rebel retirement is concentrated in certain districts and not others. For example, retirement in Telangana is very...

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