2017 World press freedom index: media freedom becoming fragile in democracies too
May 3, Geneva: On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres called for an end to the crackdown on journalists who are the ‘‘voice of the voiceless.’‘
"On World Press Freedom Day, I call for an end to all crackdown against journalists because a free press advances peace and justice for all. When we protect journalists, their words and pictures can change our world.‘‘Journalists go to the most dangerous places to give voice to the voiceless. Media workers suffer character assassination, sexual assault, detention, injuries and even death.
‘‘We need leaders to defend the free media, this is crucial to counter misinformation and you need everyone to stand for our right to truth.
‘‘On World Press Freedom Day, I call for an end to all crackdown against journalists because a free press advances peace and justice for all. When we protect journalists, their words and pictures can change our world,’‘ he concluded.
According to the press freedom index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) "media freedom is proving increasingly fragile", due to "poisonous rhetoric", "inadequate" protection for journalists and their sources.
While this may seem a reserve of war-torn countries with activist and citizen journalists, the UK is also falling short of the mark. This year, Britain dropped two places to number 40 out of 180, far behind countries such as Jamaica, Germany, Spain and Iceland. The United States is in 48. Earlier this week, blogger and startup co-founder Yameen Rasheed was stabbed to death in the Maldives in what is believed to have been a politically-motivated attack in a country that is facing mounting claims of corruption. On the World Press Freedom Index, the Maldives sits in 117.
Reporters without Borders also said that, a "heavy-handed approach towards the press – often in the name of National Security – resulted in the UK slipping down the World Press Freedom Index."
The top 10 countries
- Costa Rica
May third was a date set aside to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom and to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.The international day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the 26th Session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991.
This, in turn, was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence.
UNESCO, the Government of Indonesia, and the Press Council of Indonesia are the organizers of the 2017 World Press Freedom Day’s main event. The UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize Ceremony takes place in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 1-4 May 2017.
The Oslo Times International News Network