Press Freedom's Dark Horizon
Global press freedom declined to its lowest point in 13 years in 2016 amid unprecedented threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies and new moves by authoritarian states to control the media, including beyond their borders.
- Global press freedom declined to its lowest point in 13 years in 2016 amid unprecedented threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies and new moves by authoritarian states to control the media, including beyond their borders.
- Only 13 percent of the world’s population enjoys a Free press—that is, a media environment where coverage of political news is robust, the safety of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and the press is not subject to onerous legal or economic pressures.
- Forty-five percent of the population lives in countries where the media environment is Not Free. The world’s 10 worst-rated countries and territories were Azerbaijan, Crimea, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
- Politicians in democracies such as Poland and Hungary shaped news coverage by undermining traditional media outlets, exerting their influence over public broadcasters, and raising the profile of friendly private outlets.
- United States President Donald Trump disparaged the press, rejecting the news media’s role in holding governments to account for their words and actions.
- Officials in more authoritarian settings such as Turkey, Ethiopia, and Venezuela used political or social unrest as a pretext for new crackdowns on independent or opposition-oriented outlets.
- Authorities in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Asia extended restrictive laws to online speech, or simply shut down telecommunications services at crucial moments, such as before elections or during protests.
- Among the countries that suffered the largest declines were Poland, Turkey, Burundi, Hungary, Bolivia, Serbia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR THE PROTECTION AND FREEDOM OF JOURNALISTS