Freedom index finds journalism blocked in over 100 countries
Published: 12:41 PM, 20 April 2021 Updated: 03:24 PM, 20 April 2021
Journalism has at least partly blocked in nearly three-quarters of the 180 countries, said Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a watchdog to survey the journalism freedom index, said on Tuesday in an annual report conducted by Edelman Trust.
The agency’s World Press Freedom Index, which evaluated the press situations in 180 countries, painted a stark picture and concluded that 73% of the world’s nations have serious issues with media freedoms, reports AP.
The World Press Freedom Index found 73 countries “totally blocked or seriously impeded” its journalism while it was “partly blocked” in 59 countries.
“May countries had used the coronavirus pandemic to suppress the media freedom,” the report said.
“Journalism and media freedom are too often blocked by political, economic, technological and, sometimes, even cultural factors,” said RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire in a statement.
Meanwhile, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Costa Rica were ranked the highest in the media freedom index while Eritrea, North Korea, Turkmenistan, China and Djibouti are ranked the worst in this year’s RSF ranking.
The Middle East and North Africa region continue to be the most repressive for journalists, the report found, highlighting the worsening situation in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria over the past year.
Malaysia recorded the “worst deterioration”, down 18 places in the ranking to 119, due in part to a recent “anti-fake news” law “allowing the government to impose its own version of the truth”.
RSF said the global level of media freedom remained largely stable overall for the past year, but noted that the figures had deteriorated by 12 percent since the ranking was first launched in 2013. “Part of the problem is falling trust in journalists, fueled by political polarization and online misinformation,” it said.
The World Press Freedom Index is based on questionnaires sent to experts around the world, combined with data on abuse and acts of violence against journalists to form a picture that includes pluralism, media independence, self-censorship and other factors. – AFP.
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