Reporters Without Borders' annual World Press Freedom Index finds that, globally, journalism and journalists are under increased attack. In 2018, only 26% of countries scored "good" (light yellow on the map) or "fairly good" (dark yellow on the map) in terms of press freedom, down from 27.2% in 2017 and 29.5% in 2016. So far in 2018, 35 journalists have been killed and another 168 are sitting in prisons.
From the report, "Hostility towards the media from political leaders is no longer limited to authoritarian countries such as Turkey (down two at 157th) and Egypt (161st), where 'media-phobia' is now so pronounced that journalists are routinely accused of terrorism and all those who don’t offer loyalty are arbitrarily imprisoned. More and more democratically-elected leaders no longer see the media as part of democracy’s essential underpinning, but as an adversary to which they openly display their aversion. The United States, the country of the First Amendment, has fallen again in the Index under Donald Trump, this time two places to 45th. A media-bashing enthusiast, Trump has referred to reporters 'enemies of the people,' the term once used by Joseph Stalin. The line separating verbal violence from physical violence is dissolving. In the Philippines (down six at 133rd), President Rodrigo Duterte not only constantly insults reporters but has also warned them that they 'are not exempted from assassination.' In India (down two at 138th), hate speech targeting journalists is shared and amplified on social networks, often by troll armies in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pay. In each of these countries, at least four journalists were gunned down in cold blood in the space of a year. Verbal violence from politicians against the media is also on the rise in Europe, although it is the region that respects press freedom most. In the Czech Republic (down 11 at 34th), President Milos Zeman turned up at a press conference with a fake Kalashnikov inscribed with the words 'for journalists.' In Slovakia, (down 10 at 27th), then Prime Minister Robert Fico called journalists 'filthy anti-Slovak prostitutes' and 'idiotic hyenas.' A Slovak reporter, Ján Kuciak, was shot dead in his home in February 2018, just four months after another European journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, was killed by a targeted car-bombing in Malta (down 18 at 65th)."
For the full report, see rsf.org/en/rsf-index-2018-hatred-journalism-threatens-democracies
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