The 2019 World Press Freedom Index reveals the level of press freedom across the world, reporting an intense climate of fear has been triggered across the reporting environment.
The 2019 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), shows that the number of countries regarded as safe for journalists has continued to decline while authoritarian regimes strengthen their grip over the media.
After evaluating the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories every year, only 24% of the countries studied in the RSF Index were classified as “good”, a decline when compares to the 2018 ranking at 26%, showing that an intense climate of fear has been triggered across the reporting environment.
Norway recored the best score for press freedom, followed by Finland and Sweden, while Eritrea, North Korea and Turkmenistan ranked lowest, as the level of violence used to persecute journalists who aggravate authorities in these countries seems to know no limits.
A problematic US
Of all the world’s regions, it is the Americas (North and South) that has suffered the greatest deterioration (3.6%t) in its regional score measuring the level of press freedom constraints and violations.
The increasingly hostile climate that goes beyond Donald Trump’s comments has placed the United States at 48th, falling three places in this year’s Index, classifying the media climate as “problematic” (orange).
Never before have United States journalists been subjected to so many death threats or turned so often to private security firms for protection. Hatred of the media is now such that a man walked into the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, in June 2018 and opened fire, killing four journalists and one other member of the newspaper’s staff. The gunman had repeatedly expressed his hatred for the paper on social networks before ultimately acting on his words.
A changing world
The Eastern Europe and Central Asia region continues to rank second from last in the Index, the position it has held for years, while the European Union and Balkans registered the second biggest deterioration (1.7%) in its regional score measuring the level of constraints and violations.
Although the deterioration in its regional score was smaller, the Middle East and North Africa region continue to be the most difficult and dangerous for journalists. Africa registered the smallest deterioration in its regional score in the 2019 Index, but also some of the biggest changes in individual country rankings.
Click here to learn how the index was compiled.