Press Freedom In Era of Propaganda
World press freedom deteriorated in 2015, especially in the Americas, advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said Wednesday as it released its annual rankings, warning of “a new era of propaganda”.
The World Press Freedom Index ranks 180 countries on indicators such as media independence, self-censorship, the rule of law, transparency and abuses.
This year’s report warned of a climate of fear that has seen world leaders “developing a form of paranoia about legitimate journalism.”
This year’s index saw a decline in all parts of the world, said Christophe Deloire, secretary general of the Paris-based group, with Latin America of particular concern.
“We are entering a new era of propaganda where new technologies allow the low-cost dissemination of their own communication, their information, as dictated. On the other side, journalists are the ones who get in the way.”
Within the United States, RSF specifically noted that Freedom of the Press ends where national security begins. The First Amendment to the 1787 Constitution has encountered the government’s war on whistle blowers who leak information about its surveillance activities, spying and foreign operations, especially those linked to counter-terrorism.
Furthermore, US journalists are still not protected by a federal “shield law” guaranteeing their right not to reveal their sources and other confidential work-related information.
Three north European countries head the rankings, including Finland (ranked 1st, the position it has held since 2010), Netherlands and Norway, while the United States ranks down at number 41.
Latin America is of gravest concern, citing “institutional violence” in Venezuela and Ecuador, organized crime in Honduras, impunity in Colombia, corruption in Brazil and media concentration in Argentina as the main obstacles to press freedom.
Among the lowest ranked countries were Syria, at 177th place out of 180, just below China (176th) but above North Korea (179th).
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