There’s less media freedom in world today, says report
PARIS—Extremist groups such as the Islamic State and Boko Haram were among those behind the worldwide “drastic decline” of media freedom in 2014, media watchdog Reporters without Borders said in its annual evaluation released Thursday.
The group’s 2015 World Press Freedom Index stated that there were 3,719 violations of freedom of information in 180 countries in 2014 — eight percent more than a year earlier.
“There has been an overall deterioration linked to very different factors, with information wars, and action by non-state groups acting like news despots,” the head of the Paris-based group, Christophe Deloire, said.
All parties in conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine were waging “a fearsome information war,” where media personnel were directly targeted to be killed, captured or pressured to relay propaganda, according to the group known by its French initials RSF.
The Islamic State active in Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram in northern Nigeria and Cameroon and criminal organizations in Italy and Latin America all used “fear and reprisals to silence journalists and bloggers who dared investigate them or refused to act as their mouthpieces,” the RSF said.
“The criminalization of blasphemy endangers freedom of information in around half of the world’s countries,” the report added, noting that religious extremists sometimes also go after journalists or bloggers they believe do not sufficiently respect their god or prophet.
PH at 141st
RSF’s ranking put Iran, China, Syria and North Korea as among those with the worst levels of press freedom out of the 180 countries evaluated.
The Philippines ranked 141st, slightly ahead of other Southeast Asian countries Myanmar (144), Malaysia (147) and Singapore (153). Among the bottom-dwellers were Iran (173), Sudan (174), China (176), Syria (177), North Korea (179) and Eritrea (180).
“Police misconduct” during the Occupy Central protests in Hong Kong earned that territory a slide to 70th position.
The best-rated nations were northern European states such as Finland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, with New Zealand, Canada and Jamaica also making the top 10.
The United States ranked 49th, three spots lower than in the previous report, in part because of what RSF said was the US government’s “war on information” against WikiLeaks and others.
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