The 2019 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders, was released last week. It found that hatred of journalists is degenerating into violence and that point was reinforced by the murder of Lyra McKee in Derry, Northern Ireland, on Thursday. Dissident republican group the "New IRA", admitted responsibility for the journalist's murder. The index found that the number of countries regarded as safe for journalists has continued to decline while authoritarian regimes are strengthening their grip over the media, resulting in a climate of fear.
The index also stated that hostility expressed by political leaders towards the media is inciting violence and fuelling fear for journalists. Norway recorded the best score for press freedom, followed by Finland and Sweden. The bottom ranked countries were Eritrea, North Korea and Turkmenistan. Out of the 180 countries analysed, only 24 percent were classified as "good", a decline on 2018's 26 percent.
The United States has fallen three places to 48th as a result of President Trump's comments about the media which has resulted in heightened hostility towards journalists. The growing levels of violence used to persecute journalists was graphically illustrated by the brutal murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The gruesome killing sent shock waves far beyond Saudi borders and this year, the kingdom is ranked as one of the ten worst countries for press freedom at number 173.
[Ed] South Africa is well ranked at 31st out of 180 countries, higher than France (32), the United Kingdom (33) and the United States of America (48).
Article published courtesy of Statista