Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Armenia ranks 80th in 2018 World Press Freedom Index

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Gustavo Carr | 27 April, 2018, 01:00

"A state of emergency has allowed authorities to eliminate dozens of media outlets with the stroke of a pen, reducing pluralism to a handful of low-circulated and targeted publications".

President Trump's attacks on journalists are helping to fuel a growing climate of animosity toward the media around the world, according to a survey published Wednesday by a group that defends freedom of information and a free press.

Norway and Sweden placed first and second, respectively, for the second consecutive year, while North Korea remained last.

Wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen play a big part in this, but Egypt, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are also singled out as countries where it is extremely hard for journalists to do their job.

In their annual reports on the state of press freedom around the world, Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House harshly criticized Western populist leaders for discrediting the media, berating journalists, and threatening to impose restrictions. In the Philippines (down six at 133rd), President Rodrigo Duterte not only constantly insults reporters but has also warned them that they "are not exempted from assassination".

Europe, which historically has had the freest press in the world and had eight of the freest press sectors in the world, notched the largest decline in its regional indicator. "A media-bashing enthusiast, Trump has referred to reporters as 'enemies of the people, ' the term once used by Joseph Stalin".

"When foreign leaders see the USA president denounce the media on a regular basis, it gives them free rein to do the same", Margaux Ewen, RSF's North America director, told the Washington Post.

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This paints a scary picture in Europe which is known to be the region which respects Press Freedom the most.

But these countries have not been immune to the overall declining trend in press freedom either, and Finland has fallen in the ranking for the second time, the report said.

He added: "The political leaders who are despising journalists are undermining the principle of public debate that is based on facts rather than propaganda".

"Xi Jinping's China is getting closer and closer to a contemporary version of totalitarianism", the report read.

The report pins part of the blame for the US slide on President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans hold on to Arizona House seat Dems win majority in New York Senate, but won't control it Mulvaney to bankers: Campaign donations will help limit consumer bureau's power MORE and his regular attacks on the media.

Some Asian countries continue to sit near the bottom of the index due to "their relentless suppression of criticism and dissent", says the statement, including Azerbaijan (163rd), Vietnam (175th), and China (176th).