Indians believe religious freedom very important: survey

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Washington, Nov 19: India is among the countries which have the highest support for religious freedom with 8 out of 10 Indians believing that it is very important to have the freedom to practice their faith compared with a global median of 74 per cent, according to a new survey.

Nonpartisan fact tank US-based Pew Research - that surveyed 38 countries and interviewed 40,786 people between April 5 to May 21, 2015 - found there is strong support for gender equality and religious freedom in India.

Indians

Eighty-three per cent Indians say it is very important to have the freedom to practice their religion compared with a global median of 74 per cent across the nations polled.

Overall, global public oppose government censorship of the media, except in cases of national security. In India, 74 per cent say media organizations should be able to publish information about large political protests in the country.

Across the nations polled, a global median of 78 per cent also say this, Pew said, releasing the contents of its survey. Support for internet freedom in India (38 per cent) is among the lowest of all countries polled.

Even though internet freedom ranks last among the six broad democratic rights included on the survey, majorities in 32 of 38 countries nonetheless say it is important to live in a country where people can use the internet without government censorship.

Across the 38 nations, a median of 50 per cent believe it is very important to live in a country with an uncensored internet, it said. A global median of 65 per cent say it is very important for women to have the same rights as men and in India 71 percent of those polled agree, the report said.

On the issue of equal rights for women, there are sharp differences between men and women in most of the countries in the study. In 24 nations, women are more likely than men to say it is very important for women to have equal rights.

"However, in India, there is no gender difference on this question," Pew said. In India, 49 per cent believe it is very important to have honest, competitive elections with a choice of at least two political parties.

Elections are clearly considered a central component of democracy around the world, and among the 38 nations in the study, a median of 61 per cent agree. 

PTI

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