Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Trump’s assaults on journalists and news media in the United States represent a new threat to the worldwide freedom of the press. This is stated in the Freedom of the Press 2017 Report by Freedom House and Free Press Unlimited.

“Trump's tirades against journalists give authoritarian leaders a free rein to carry out attacks against journalists and independent media,” according to the report. 

"We can talk of an insidious, worldwide war against journalism. The United States has become a new battleground. Democracies are infected with an authoritarian virus which limits freedom of the press and overrules contradictions." said Leon Willems, director of Free Press Unlimited following the publication of the report.

A new low

Global press freedom fell in 2016 to the lowest level in the past thirteen years. This is mainly due to new threats on journalists in democratic countries and oppression of independent media in authoritarian countries like Russia and China. The biggest decline in press freedom in 2016 took place in Poland, Burundi and Turkey.

Most important worldwide results

  • Less than one in seven world citizens live in a country with free press.
  • 42 percent of the world's population enjoy partial freedom of the press and 45 percent of the population live in an environment where there is no press freedom.
  • Countries where press freedom has deteriorated the most are: Poland (- 6 points),
  • Burundi (5), Turkey (5), Congo (4) and South Sudan (4).
  • Press freedom has improved in these countries: Sri Lanka (+ 3 points), Argentina (4), Greece (4) and Panama (5).
  • The 10 countries and territories with the worst scores are: North Korea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Crimea, Eritrea, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Azerbaijan, Iran and Syria
  • The Netherlands is in second place and Norway is in the first place.

10 worst countries for press freedom

Graphic of the 10 worst countries regarding press freedom                 

Contempt

There was a slight decline in press freedom in the United States in 2016. According to the report “There has never been a president who has shown so much contempt for the press as Trump.” Time after time, he has made out that reporters are lying purveyors of ‘fake news’ and labeled the news media as ‘an enemy of the people’. The report states that the biggest danger is that the US is no longer a role model for other countries. If Trump continues with his battle against the media, confidence in the media will suffer further damage.”

Read the full report Freedom of the Press 2017