Reporters Without Borders: Hatred of Journalists Leading to Violence

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The 2019 World Press Freedom Index is said to show hatred of journalists globally, has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear within the profession.

"The government also said that journalists would no longer have to fear reprisals when they covered sensitive subjects, yet the reality is somewhat different". "And the state of journalism and press freedom around the world is declining... but also in the traditional press freedom allies-countries in Europe and here in the United States", said RSF's Executive Director Sabine Dolan during the launch of the index.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders on Thursday released its 2019 World Press Freedom Index ranking 180 countries and territories.

The report found that journalists working in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were at the highest risk - at least three journalists were killed in connection with their work.

After 2017 was a sad year for journalism, 2018 is no better for the media.

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This rhetoric has not only impacted journalists in the USA, but has also spilled over overseas as world leaders from Venezuela to the Philippines use terms like "fake news" to justify human rights violations and crackdowns on press freedom. The index says President Donald Trump has exacerbated press freedom by attacking journalists, calling them the "enemy of the American people" and "fake news".

"Hostility towards journalists in many countries by political leaders has recently brought a lot of attacks", notes RSF.

Jamaica has dropped two places from sixth in 2018 to eighth this year in the annual global press freedom index. Asserting that female journalists in India are targeted on social media through the means of coordinated hate campaigns and even receive threats of rape and murder, the report claims that journalists who criticise the authorities are often threatened with criminal prosecution and even gagged with Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The five countries at the bottom of the list are Vietnam, China, Eritrea, North Korea and Turkmenistan, in that order. The police also detained a journalist for several days in an attempt to identify his sources.

The RSF devised an online questionnaire distributed to experts on pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, and the quality of the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information. The section on Thailand did not explain what accounted for the country's four-point increase on the index, which reflected a relative improvement in the climate for press freedom.

North Macedonia is in the 95th place, marking a rise from a year ago when it came 109th, while Montenegro has the worst ranking in the region, coming 104th.

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