Press freedom under increasing threats, made worse by coronavirus pandemic

By Rafael Molina

Madrid Desk, May 3 (efe-epa).- Press freedom faces a number of threats including fake news and economic difficulties as well as a global increase in the use of intimidation and violence to silence journalists.

These pressures have been exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis, according to the latest report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) which was published on Sunday, World Press Freedom Day.

RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said in a statement: “We are entering a decisive decade for journalism linked to crises that affect its future.

“The coronavirus pandemic illustrates the negative factors threatening the right to reliable information, and is itself an exacerbating factor.”

He said the next decade will be decisive for the future of journalism.

The RSF highlighted five critical areas which are threatening the industry and warned that the pandemic has aggravated them all.

It listed the crises as “a geopolitical crisis (due to the aggressiveness of authoritarian regimes); a technological crisis (due to a lack of democratic guarantees); a democratic crisis (due to polarisation and repressive policies); a crisis of trust (due to suspicion and even hatred of the media); and an economic crisis (impoverishing quality journalism)”.

The RSF warned that one of the “most salient crises” is dictatorial or authoritarian regimes that try to restrict the rights of the free press and impose their vision of the world.

It highlighted China, and said the regime is “trying to establish a ‘new world media order,’ maintains its system of information hyper-control, of which the negative effects for the entire world have been seen during the coronavirus public health crisis”.

China, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are the world’s biggest jailers of journalists, according to the RSF.

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