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Scandinavian countries best for journalism, China and Belarus among the worst

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published its newest 2021 World Press Freedom Index, which denounces that 130 countries still do not fully guarantee the fundamental right of press freedom.

AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus PARIS 20 DE ABRIL DE 2021 17:06 h
Press freedom has many obstacles in Russia, says RSF. / Photo: [link]V. Tenevoy[/link]Unsplash, CC0

Over 70% of countries in the world have “very bad”, “bad” or “problematic” environments for press freedom.



This what Reporters Without Freedom (RSF) said as it released its 2021 World Press Freedom Index.



Fake news, propaganda disinformation and conspiracy theories have gained ground in the last year. And “the coronavirus pandemic has been used as grounds to block journalists’ access to information sources and reporting in the field. Will this access be restored when the pandemic is over?”, the organisation asks.



Another challenge is that “59% of respondents in 28 countries say journalists deliberately try to mislead the public by reporting information they know to be false”.



The regions were there has a been a worsening trend in the working conditions for journalists are “Asia, Middle East and Europe”.



 



Norway vs China



The Scandinavian countries Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark continue to be the best in the world when it comes to press freedom. Other three European countries (Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland) are in the Top 10, as well as Costa Rica, Jamaica and New Zealand.



Map of the world and Top 10 of the 2021 World Press Freedom Index. / Graph: RSF



[photo_footer] Map of the world and Top 10 of the 2021 World Press Freedom Index. / Source: RSF [/photo_footer]


 



Eritrea, North Korea, Turkmenistan and China are the four worst countries for press freedom. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Belarus and Russia are also in the group of the 30 worst countries for journalists.



 



Worsening situation in several key countries



This year’s RSF report criticises how governments from large countries such as Brazil and Egypt, made the access to trustworthy information about the pandemic difficult, while President Bolsonaro promoted “the vilification and orchestrated public humiliation of journalists”.



It also laments that in places like Germany, “dozens of journalists were attacked by supporters of extremist and conspiracy theory believers during protests against pandemic restrictions”.



Also Russia continues to be on the radar as it “deployed its repressive apparatus to limit media coverage of protests”, the report says.



In contrast, “most of the 2021 Index’s biggest gains are in Africa”, RSF underlines. “Burundi (up 13 at 147th), Sierra Leone (up 10 at 75th) and Mali (up 9 at 99th) have all seen significant improvements”.





 



Journalism a “vaccine against disinformation”



The Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders defends “journalism as the best vaccine against disinformation” and laments that “its production and distribution are too often blocked by political, economic, technological and, sometimes, even cultural factors”.



“In response to the virality of disinformation across borders, on digital platforms and via social media, journalism provides the most effective means of ensuring that  public debate is based on a diverse range of established facts”.


 

 


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