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Report: Press freedom experienced ‘drastic decline’ in 2014
Thu 12 Feb 2015 at 09:44
NNA – The latest edition of the annual World Press Freedom Index, released Thursday by the international organization Reporters Without Borders, paints a grim picture of media censorship across the globe. The group said it has found that had press freedom experienced a “worldwide deterioration” over the past year.
“Two-thirds of the 180 countries surveyed for the 2015 World Press Freedom Index performed less well than in the previous year,” according to a news release accompanying the report. Every populated continent experienced an overall decline in press freedom ratings.
Censorious regimes were partly blamed for the perceived downturn, but Reporters Without Borders also pointed to non-state actors who “operate against, or in parallel with, established legal systems and feel bound only by whatever laws they created for themselves.” Groups including the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Boko Haram, which is active in Africa, were singled out for their attacks on journalists and attempts to seize local media infrastructure.
State efforts to control the press seemed to run hand-in-hand with regional instability. States facing either internal or regional conflicts such as Syria, Russia, Israel, and Hong Kong were among the primary offenders identified by the 2015 World Press Freedom Index.
The United States ranked 49 out of 180 countries on the index, having fallen three spots since last year. According to Reporters Without Borders, reasons contributing to the fall included the number of journalists who had been “arbitrarily arrested” during their coverage of the past year’s protests in Ferguson, Missouri.