Hostility toward journalists rising worldwide, watchdog says
PARIS (AP) — Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders says hostility toward journalists is growing worldwide, often encouraged by political leaders — even in democratic countries.
The group’s annual global index of media freedom released Wednesday found an overall rise in animosity toward reporters and a drop in freedoms, notably in former Soviet states but also in countries from the U.S. to the Philippines.
The group says many democratically elected leaders “no longer see the media as part of democracy’s essential underpinning,” singling out U.S. President Donald Trump for his media-bashing. It also notes the recent killings of reporters in EU members Slovakia and Malta.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was “ridiculous” to suggest that Trump or his administration has halted freedom of the press.
“I think we’re one of the most accessible administrations that we’ve seen in decades,” Sanders said Wednesday. “I think by my mere presence of standing up here and taking your questions, unvetted, is a pretty good example of freedom of the press and I think it’s ridiculous to suggest otherwise.”
The media watchdog says authoritarian regimes are trying to “export their vision” that media should be compliant.
It says hate speech targeting journalists is amplified on social networks by government-friendly trolls in India, Russia and elsewhere.