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India not an exemplar of press freedom, should not gloat about ban on Cyril Almeida: Indian Journalist

01:34 PM | 12 Oct, 2016
India not an exemplar of press freedom, should not gloat about ban on Cyril Almeida: Indian Journalist
NEW DELHI - Those denouncing Islamabad’s travel ban on Dawn’s Cyril Almeida must also take a candid look at the tolerance for dissent in India, Hindustan Times' Associate Editor, Sushil Aaron said in his analysis published on October 11.

Sushil said that many Indians are rejoicing after the Pakistan's 'fascism' was unveiled, while overlooking the growing obscurantist wave at home.

"India is not the exemplar of press freedom and individual liberty as many would like to believe," he argued.

Citing example of  Priya Pillai, who then was working for Greenpeace, was offloaded from Delhi airport in January 2015 just as she was heading to the UK to brief its parliamentarians on mining and human rights violations in Madhya Pradesh. "An act the ministry of home affairs felt was tantamount to projecting India negatively abroad."

He recalled how recently Indian police raided media houses and shut down newspapers in occupied Kashmir for three days "to ensure peace."

"The daily Kashmir Reader was banned, on Gandhi Jayanti, for “publishing content that can incite acts of violence” and “disturb public tranquillity”, even though the state government is yet to explain what content it is referring to," Sushil protested.

Sushil said that India is ranked 133rd out of 180 countries in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

As the situation is worsening in India, the RSF said “frequent lawsuits against journalists by local officials and draconian legislation on defamation and online publications impose major constraints on the media and encourage self-censorship”. It also reports that “violence has emerged as the main brake on media activity in recent years, especially for reporters in the field and investigative journalists. Wherever they work, Indian journalists are exposed to growing violence. As well as frequent verbal and physical violence, attacks by armed groups are on the rise in several states and the local authorities have had little success in reining it in.”

Sushil blamed ministers and political leaders for the current plight of journalists. "They [Ministers] not only refuse to subject themselves to rigorous media scrutiny but some choose to attack journalists using derogatory terms."

"Journalists have been recently targeted for questioning the government’s version of the surgical strikes against Pakistan and those questions have been projected as an attack on the army itself. Overall, this is not a climate that nurtures the scrutiny of the establishment which is what the media is supposed to do in a democracy," Sushil lamented.

Indicating Hindu extremism, he said "we don’t tolerate, the films we censor or ban, the meat we are forbidden from eating, the clothes we aren’t allowed to wear, and the other we are not allowed to embrace."

Sushil concluded with the bitter truth: It is not enough to declare that the Indian media is freer than Pakistan or that India’s democracy is bigger. The point is to check if democratic institutions are getting better. They are not at this point.

Hamza Rao is a member of the staff at Daily Pakistan. He can be reached at raohamzafree@gmail.com. He tweets at @HamzaRaoxxx

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Currency Rates in Pakistan Today - Pakistani rupee to US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 17 April 2024

Pakistani currency saw minor adjustment against global currencies on April 17, 2024. US dollar was being quoted at 277.4 for buying and 280.4 for selling.

Euro comes down to 293.15 for buying and 296.1 for selling while British Pound stands at 344.25 for buying, and 347.6 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.4 and Saudi Riyal's new rates was at 73.30. 

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 17 April 2024

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.4 280.4
Euro EUR 293.15 296.1
UK Pound Sterling GBP 344.25 347.6
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.45 76.2
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.3 74.05
Australian Dollar AUD 181 182.5
Bahrain Dinar BHD 739.38 747.38
Canadian Dollar CAD 201 203
China Yuan CNY 38.45 38.85
Danish Krone DKK 40.45 40.85
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.57 35.92
Indian Rupee INR 3.33 3.44
Japanese Yen JPY 1.86 1.94
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 902.26 911.26
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.24 58.84
New Zealand Dollar NZD 164.75 166.75
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.38 25.68
Omani Riyal OMR 722.1 730.1
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.37 77.07
Singapore Dollar SGD 204.5 206.5
Swedish Korona SEK 25.72 26.02
Swiss Franc CHF 307.11 309.61
Thai Bhat THB 7.61 7.76

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