UN chief on World Press Freedom Day (3 May 2020)
Human rights activists warn of worsening situation on Press Freedom Day
Military action is far from the only source of danger for journalists
ISLAMABAD – As the world celebrates Press Freedom Day, journalists around the world are being arrested, intimidated or even killed in connection with their professional activities.
And while the list of countries with the most censorship rampant remains largely unchanged over time, the media is facing new expressions of hostility..
Human rights organizations believe that freedom of the press is not improving, but, on the contrary, is increasingly threatened.
After reporters arrived at the scene of the bombing in Kabul this week, an Islamic State suicide bomber posing as a media official set off a second bombing that killed nine journalists..
The incident is a harsh reminder of the dangers facing journalists in conflict zones.
Warring countries are still the most dangerous places for the media, but war is far from the only threat to press freedom today..
Hostility towards the press is on the rise, according to Reporters Without Borders’ annual Press Freedom Index, and not only in countries with authoritarian rule.
The United States, for example, downgraded to rank 45.
Reporters Without Borders called President Donald Trump “a fan of media scolding,” who called journalists “enemies of the people.” Human rights activists say arrests and incidents of violence against journalists in the United States increased in the past year.
“We do see a correlation between this verbal violence against journalists by the president and physical violence,” said Margot Even, a spokeswoman for Reporters Without Borders. “But what we are also seeing is the impact these statements have on press freedom around the world.”.
White House officials say the Trump administration is the most accessible administration in decades. According to the spokesman, it is ridiculous to say the opposite.
Last year, the number of journalists imprisoned for their work reached a record high. The most deplorable situation, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, has developed in Turkey, China and Egypt..
Europe is recognized as the region where press freedom is most respected, but even here two journalists were shot dead last year in connection with their professional activities..
In India, according to Reporters Without Borders, troll armies allegedly hired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi are attacking journalists critical of the government. Journalist Gauri Lankesh Killed For Criticizing Right-wing Hindu Extremism.
In neighboring Pakistan, journalists and activists fear arrest or enforced disappearance, and powerful military leaders often prohibit media coverage of certain topics..
Journalists say that in the absence of the right to ask questions of people in power, all other rights are at risk.
“Freedom of the press is the main pillar of democracy, the main pillar of a society that needs to grow, that wants to grow,” said Aung Sahi, Los Angeles Times reporter in Pakistan..
According to the human rights organization Freedom House, the world’s press freedom index has reached a record low over the past 13 years. Only 13 percent of the world’s population has a truly free press..
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