The annual Freedom of the Press report from Freedom House is out. And things don’t look good.
Conditions for the media deteriorated sharply in 2014 to reach their lowest point in more than 10 years, as journalists around the world encountered more restrictions from governments, militants, criminals, and media owners, according to Freedom of the Press 2015, released today by Freedom House.
“Journalists faced intensified pressure from all sides in 2014,” said Jennifer Dunham, project manager of the report. “Governments used security or antiterrorism laws as a pretext to silence critical voices, militant groups and criminal gangs used increasingly brazen tactics to intimidate journalists, and media owners attempted to manipulate news content to serve their political or business interests.”
The worst thing is that the decline is not just because of one or two things. The attack on free and independent media is coming from all sides.
Governments are making it more difficult for reporters to interview government officials, restrictions on free movement limit reporters’ access to conflict areas, violence is threatened from government agents, pro-government agents and just plain thugs, and the list goes on.
The summary of the report is depressing enough.
Percentage of population with access to free media:
- Americas: 38 (with Latin America at 2 percent)
- Asia-Pacific: 5
- Middle East-North Africa: 2
- EurAsia: 0 (18 percent Partly Free, 82 percent Not Free)
- Sub-Saharan Africa: 3
- Europe: 66 (but in a downward slope for past 10 years)
Read the report. It is not the most cheerful document you will read, but it is important.