The Challenge of Reporting Religion in Modi’s India 

Award-winning journalist and author Kalpana Jain is the senior editor of ethics and religion at the Conversation US. The former investigative reporter is raising alarms about the threats to press freedom in the world’s most populous democracy, India. In the Georgetown University Berkley Forum Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Jain describes how the attacks on a US-based journalist reflect a growing problem in India.

In Modi’s India, Press Freedom Is Curbed and Journalists Are Under Threat for Doing Their Jobs is the headline of award-winning journalist Kalpana Jain’s essay in the Berkley Forum published by the Berkley Forum for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Jain details how the treatment of Wall Street Journal reporter Sabrina Siddiqui after a White House Press Conference featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi reflects what’s happening inside India’s media world.

In this hour-long conversation, Jain describes how reporters in India are increasingly subjected to extra-judicial threats, denial of visas, political harassment, arrest, and surveillance for challenging the Modi government’s propaganda.

Sharing her experience as a reporter in India during earlier times, Jain details how the decline in press freedoms has created a culture of fear among reporters.  The consequence is that less critical information is presented to the public.

Jain describes how the history of India’s media organizations traced back to the independence movements.  In contrast, the freedom and independence of media organizations have diminished now as many rely on advertising revenue to industries closely tied to the government.  That business relationship impacts coverage and the willingness of editors to publish stories that challenge the Modi government for fear of losing revenue.

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