Global press freedom in decline

Hits lowest point in more than decade

Press freedom across the globe has hit its lowest point in 13 years, according to Freedom of the Press, an annual report on media independence published since 1980 by Freedom House. Only 13 percent of the world’s population enjoys a free press, with robust political coverage, safety for journalists, minimal state intrusion and no onerous legal or economic pressures. Compare that to 45 percent of the population living with the opposite, or a “not free” media environment.

The decline has happened amid “unprecedented threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies” and attempts to control the media by authoritarian states. President Trump continues to disparage the press, rejecting the news media’s role in holding governments accountable, using terms like “fake news” and calling news media “enemies of the people.”

The U.S. still remains one of the most press-friendly countries in the world, with some of the strongest legal protections for reporting and expression. The top 10 worst-rated countries are Azerbaijan, Crimea, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.