Print Edition - 2017-04-27 | World
Media bashing ‘highly toxic’
Apr 27, 2017-
Press freedom has never been as threatened as it is now, in the “new post-truth era of fake news” after the election of US President Donald Trump, Reporters Without Borders warned on Wednesday.
Its annual World Press Freedom Index warned of the “highly toxic” media-bashing of Trump’s election campaign and Britain’s Brexit referendum.
The situation is at “a tipping point,” it said bluntly.
Media freedom is being undermined by the rise in surveillance and of authoritarian strongmen across the globe, the watchdog said.
The US and Britain both slipped two places in the index to 43rd and 40th, according to the Paris-based monitoring group, known by its French initials RSF.
“Nothing seems to be checking” the erosion of liberty of the press in leading democracies, it said.
“Media freedom has never been so threatened.”
Liberty of the press is in peril or in a “very serious situation” in 72 countries including Russia, India and China, it found.
“Attacks on the media have become commonplace and strongmen are on the rise. We have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda, and suppression of freedoms—especially in democracies,” the report said.
“Donald Trump’s rise to power... and the Brexit campaign were marked by high-profile media-bashing, a highly toxic anti-media discourse that drove the world into a new era of post-truth, disinformation and fake news,” it added. Poland and Hungary came in for withering criticism in the report.
The nationalist government in Warsaw was accused of “turning public radio and TV stations into propaganda tools” and of trying to throttle independent newspapers.
“The rate at which democracies are approaching the tipping point is alarming for all those who understand that, if media freedom is not secure, then none of the other freedoms can be guaranteed,” RSF Secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.
Published: 27-04-2017 10:32