Press freedom in the world has never been more threatened than it is today, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF). However, Norway, although affected, is at the top of the organization’s freedom index.
‘We have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda and oppression of freedoms,’ said the organization, who released their Press Index for 2017 on Wednesday.
More and more authoritarian leaders around the world, and increasing surveillance, threaten freedom of the press, according to RSF. But also in the democracies, the media are under increasing pressure.
‘Press freedom appears to be increasingly fragile in democracies, where once it was taken for granted,’ said RSF.
The organisation notes the ‘poisonous’ attacks on the media, both during the USA’s presidential election last year, and in the UK ahead of the Brexit poll.
Both the USA and the UK dropped two places from last year’s index, to 43rd and 40th place respectively.
Norway took over the first place on the list from Finland, which was at the top of the last six years’ indexes. On this year’s index, Norway is followed by Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
RSF wrote that ‘the leadership of authoritarian strong men has triumphed’, the media are under increasing pressure. Both Hungary and Turkey dropped four places to 71 and 154 respectively.
Poland also fell on this year’s index, down seven places to 54th position. The country is criticized in the report for attempting to turn the media into a ‘propaganda tool’.
Russia is in 148th position, and RSF noted that pressure on media in Russia had increased since Vladimir Putin returned to the presidential post in 2012.
‘The speed at which democracies approach the turning point is disturbing to anyone who understands that if freedom of the press is not guaranteed, neither can other freedoms be guaranteed. Where will this downward spiral take us?’ asks RSF’s Secretary-General, Christophe Deloir, in a public statement.
At the very bottom of this year’s index, in 180th place, is North Korea, which took over the bottom position from Eritrea. However, Eritrea only moved one place upward, to 179th position.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today