Washington: Leader of Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi, has said that press freedom is under threat in India under the rule of Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] and that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is orchestrating capture of institutions in the country.
Rahul Gandhi during an interaction with journalists at the National Press Club in Washington DC said press freedom is very critical for a functional democracy and one should be open to criticism. He said that there was a clampdown on the institutional framework, which enabled the national discourse.
“There is definitely a weakening of press freedom in India. It is apparent in India and the rest of the world can see it too. Press freedom is very critical for a democracy. One should be open to criticism. There is a clampdown on the institutional framework that allowed India to talk and Indian people to negotiate…… That structure, which allows this negotiation, is coming under pressure,” he said.
He further said there is a “definite capture of institutions and press” in India.
Since Modi came to power in 2014, India has slid from 140th in World Press Freedom Index, an annual ranking by non-profit Reporters Without Borders, to 161st this year, its lowest ever.
Rahul Gandhi also criticised Modi’s handling of relations with China. “The fact of the matter is China is occupying our territory. It’s an accepted fact. “It’s absolutely unacceptable. Prime Minister seems to believe otherwise,” he said. Separately, Rahul Gandhi said that Modi was responsible for creating religious polarization in India.
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