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Rise of right-wing candidate does not bode well for Indian press freedom

The following is a 5 March 2014 CPJ Blog post by Sumit Galhotra/CPJ Asia Program Research Associate.

As India is set to hold elections in April 2014, journalists covering Narendra Modi, India's right-wing prime ministerial candidate, are reportedly coming under increased pressure online and in the newsroom for shedding critical light on him. Given these developments, free and independent reporting of the campaign is in doubt - as is the future climate for press freedom should the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) become prime minister.

A recent Pew Research Center survey found that Modi has widespread popularity - 78 percent of those polled held a favorable view of him - even though he remains one of the most controversial political figures in India. Modi was cleared of any wrongdoing by a special investigation team appointed by the Supreme Court, but many journalists continue to question his role as chief minister during the deadly violence in Gujarat more than a decade ago. "The year 2002 changed Modi's equations with journalists and, in particular, the Delhi-based 'national' media," Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief of IBN18 Network, wrote in an editorial in 2013.

Read the full story on CPJ's site.

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