2019 World Press Freedom Index: US Now Ranks As 'Problematic' Place for Journalists

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The 2019 World Press Freedom Index Compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) shows how hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear. The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media. Norway is ranked first in the 2019 Index for the third year running while Finland (up two places) has taken second place from the Netherlands (down one at 4th), where two reporters who cover organized crime have had to live under permanent police protection. An increase in cyber-harassment caused Sweden (third) to lose one place. 

As a result of an increasingly hostile climate that goes beyond President Donald Trump’s comments, the United States (48th) has fallen three places in 2019’s Index and the media climate is now classified as “problematic” (orange). Never before have US journalists been subjected to so many death threats or turned so often to private security firms for protection. Hatred of the media is now such that a man walked into the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis (MD) in June 2018 and opened fire, killing four journalists and one other member of the newspaper’s staff. The gunman had repeatedly expressed his hatred for the paper on social networks before ultimately acting on his words.

2019 World Press Freedom Index – A cycle of fear The U.S. Now Ranks As A 'Problematic' Place For Journalists (NPR)