Press Freedom Index: Journalists face restrictions in 73% of countries

3 weeks ago

Reporters Without Borders unveiled its 2021 survey.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) unveiled its new 2021 edition of the World Press Freedom Index, which showed that journalism is completely or partially blocked in 73 percent of the 180 countries and territories featured in the report.

Journalism, which the organization calls “a vaccine against the virus of disinformation,” is severely hampered in 73 countries and restricted in 59 countries. The study shows that journalists are finding it increasingly difficult to investigate and report on sensitive topics, especially in Asia and the Middle East, but also in Europe. Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, journalists often face closures under the pretext of a health crisis.

For the fifth year in a row, Norway is at the top of the index, Finland is second, and Sweden is back in third place, having lost to Denmark last year.

Only 12 countries are now in the “white zone,” where there is a favorable information environment. Germany, for example, is out of this category, where dozens of journalists were attacked by demonstrators during rallies against health restrictions.

China, which continues to exercise unprecedented censorship, surveillance and propaganda on the Internet, was ranked 177th, ahead of only Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea.

Russia, where a repressive apparatus has been used to restrict coverage of protests related to the activities of opposition activist Alexei Navalny, ranked 150th.

Belarus, where unprecedented repression against journalists has been observed in order to hide the scale of protests against the official results of the presidential election, fell down by 5 positions in the rating and took 158th place.

The most favorable indicators of press freedom are still observed in Europe and in the Americas, although both North and South America recorded the largest decrease in regional indicators during the year.

Between 2020 and 2021, the overall global press freedom score declined by just 0.3 percent, but RBG experts emphasize that this should not detract from the unfavorable trend in the medium term: there has been a 12 percent decline since the index was created in 2013.