The World Press Freedom Index values on a yearly basis the situation of the freedom of the press worldwide. According to this year’s edition, data reveals that freedom within the journalistic filed is currently at risk in Europe, as well. The Index claims “the practice of journalism, the main vaccine against the disinformation virus, is gravely obstructed in 73 States out of 180 in the ranking set by RSF, while limited in other 59”.
World Press Freedom Index 2021: is Europe at risk?
According to the World Press Freedom Index 2021, freedom of the press is at high risk in Europe this year. The Index, redacted by RSF, values on a yearly basis the situation of the freedom of press worldwide. This year, data reveals 73 countries out of 180 taken into consideration see their press gravely obstructed. The practice of journalism is instead limited in other 59 States, which is 73% of the countries taken into consideration. RSF reports the prohibition to exercise free journalism regards access restrictions as well as obstruction to news coverage.
Restrictions may lead to a monopoly by authoritarian governments
RSF says these restrictions constitute a sort of parallelism with the health crisis, however fears these accesses themselves might not be reintroduced after the end of the pandemic. This currently leads – and will lead – to a monopoly by authoritarian governments regarding freedom of the press. Edelman Trust 2021 shows a worrying diffidence by the public opinion towards journalists. In fact, 59% of the interviewed in 28 countries believe journalists are deliberately trying to mislead people by spreading fake news. The data makes also examples of this possible monopoly. For instance, it refers to the news concerning Covid-19, as well as presidents Bolsonaro (Brazil) and Maduro (Venezuela) promoting medicines whose efficiency against the virus in not proven. In Egypt, al-Sisi’s regime forbids the publication of coronavirus data different from what released from the Ministry of Health.
World Press Freedom Index 2021: Scandinavian countries the best in the ranking
The World Press Freedom Index 2021 has nevertheless shown positive scores. In fact, Scandinavian countries have been estimated as the freest places in terms of freedom of the press. It is the fifth year straight Norway, Finland and Sweden achieve this important goal. Denmark and Germany come soon after Scandinavia in the ranking.
The main problem in Europe in represented by Hungary
From the data shown until now, it does not seem Europe is at a high risk. However, this issue mainly affects the Eastern part of the continent. Viktor Orban’s Hungary represents an example of the problem of freedom of the press in East Europe. For Orban, the coronavirus pandemic has signaled ad occasion in order to make the freedom of the press go down and violate information rights. Other instances can be found in Kosovo and Serbia. But RSF considers Hungary the worst example for the nearby countries. They think freedom of the press in Poland, where almost every means of information if transformed into a governmental propaganda, has been hugely affected by what occurs in Hungary.
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