:bsz International. Reporters Without Borders (RWB) published their World Press Freedom Index. The result shows an “ever darker world map”. Three additional countries are now coloured black.
According to RWB’s report from April 26, violating the freedom to inform is “less and less the prerogative of authoritarian regimes and dictatorships”. From 2016 to 2017, the number of countries that were rated either “good” (white) or “fairly good” (yellow) declined by 2.3 percentage points. This even affects countries that are considered model democracies, for example Canada (22nd), which has fallen four places or New Zealand (13th), which dropped by nine. Although Europe still has the lowest, thus best indicator concerning the level of media freedom, this number has also risen by 17.5 percent in five years.
The report emphasises that the most striking aspect about “this year’s Index is the scale and the nature of the violations seen”. Donald Trump contributed to almost globally disinhibiting attacks on the media. “The election of the 45th president of the United States set off a witchhunt against journalists.” Poisonous statements directed towards the media have largely discredited it in the public eye. RWB Secretary-General Christophe Deloire says: “The democracies that have traditionally regarded media freedom as one of the foundations on which they are built must continue to be a model for the rest of the world, and not the opposite”.
21 countries classified “very bad” (black)
Burundi (160th), Bahrain (164th) and Egypt (161st) were added to RWB’s blacklist. In Burundi, reporters and editors are mistreated, arrested and interrogated at will, forced to “correct” articles in case of displeasure. Dozens of journalists fled into exile, one has disappeared. In Egypt, media pluralism gets “shamelessly” eroded while self-censorship amongst reporters is encouraged and in Bahrain, every media that possibly puts the country’s unity at risk “is simply suppressed”.
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