Freedom Of The Press: A New Negative Leader


In the ranking of “reporters without borders” for 2019 Turkmenistan is at the very bottom. Germany is stagnating, Austria slips. But there are also fast movers, especially in Africa and Asia.

North Korea has issued a red lantern. For the first Time in three years, the state is not the conclusion of the light on the ranking of press freedom by reporters without borders, because at the very bottom, now Turkmenistan.

At the top of the rankings in Finland and Sweden is, as in the previous year, Norway, behind it. The Netherlands have fallen out of the Top Three – for Sylvie Ahrens-Urbanek of reporters without borders (RWB), a proof that there even with the supposed pattern of students with certain deficiencies. “There, journalists had to be under police protection, because they had reported on organised crime.” You have to be very careful that this continues a negative trend in the countries with good freedom of the press.

“Climate of fear”

“In General, has deteriorated just in the climate for journalists in the world,” says Sylvie Ahrens-Urbanek, the head of the communication team at ROG. “We are now talking of a climate of fear.” Particularly striking is the increasing verbal harassment against journalists – a world-wide phenomenon, however, increased in Europe and the United States.

Again and again to the word: ROG lists 22 physical assaults against journalists in Germany last year. “We still remember the demonstrations in Chemnitz, for example, as journalists, have been massively attacked verbally, but also physically by, for example, the camera of the Hand was struck,” says Ahrens-Urbanek. In the complicated evaluation process, in the a detailed questionnaire, but also data on such attacks, Germany has cut off once again, slightly worse.

Murdered Investigative journalists: Jan Kuciak from Slovakia, and Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta

Germany rises, because other traps

That Germany has slipped in the new ranking, however, two places and is now on Position 13, is mainly due to the descent of other countries. So Austria is five places on the 16. Rank dropped. There is a right-wing populist party in the government, the pulls whose chain? again and again journalists sitting with the FPÖ. So the Ministry went in of FPÖ-man Herbert Kickl indoor led, in September, an instruction to restrict the communication with certain government-critical media to a Minimum. In Hungary (-14, rank 87) is Similar to watch. As the only EU-country average Bulgaria (+/- 0, rank 111) is even worse.

Of prisons and murders

In the EU the downward trend is otherwise in the case of Malta (-12, rank 77) and Slovakia (-8, rank 35) very clearly. In Malta, the work-up of the murder is progressing to the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2017. Slovakia was the murder in February of 2018, the scene of a Journalist, as a Reporter, Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova were murdered. There is a confession to Murder before the investigators, the three Suspects sitting in detention, including an influential business man, whose dubious practices Kuciak had researched. “But it is not progressing properly,” complains Sylvie Ahrens-Urbanek of ROG. “We are not with the reprocessing satisfied.”

The second Journalist killing, the-excited in the past year, a great deal of attention was the saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Out of fear of the Regime that he criticized again and again, live abroad – as he had to pick up in Istanbul, but for once, consular documents, he was murdered in the Saudi Embassy. This is also why Saudi Arabia is lost in the current ranking three places and is now ranked 172.

Also in Turkey, the sought after Khashoggi-murder the public to education, the situation is more difficult. “The Turkey is sitting in the country where the most journalists because of their work in the prison,” says Ahrens-Urbanek. The country is consistently ranked 157.

The strongest deterioration (-33) recorded in this year, the Central African Republic. “The country since the end of the civil war, a largely law-free zone,” says Ahrens-Urbanek. “It is for local journalists hard to work there because they enjoy hardly any protection.” Also the murders of three Russian journalists was negatively reflected in the ranking – the country is now ranked 145.

Sylvie Ahrens-Urbanek is head of the communication Department of ROG

Great improvements in a short period of time

All of this should not obscure the fact that in some countries, the situation of press freedom has developed very positively. The most significant newcomer is Ethiopia, by 40 places to rank 110 has improved. There, the Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, who is putting the country on a course of Reform ruled for a year. He was within a short period of time to ensure that all detained journalists and bloggers released, and blocked sites were made accessible.

In the West African dwarf state of the Gambia, the change of power is already a year ago – after a climb of 21 places in the previous list, the country has jumped another 30 ranks to the top, and is now ranked 92. Under Prime Minister Adama Barrow, there are according to the estimates of reporters without borders, a plural media system. “If the political will is there, you can improve a Situation pretty quickly,” says Ahrens-Urbanek. “We see this also in the Asian ascenders, Malaysia and the Maldives, because the Background is quite similar.”

However, warns Ahrens-Urbanek, lead to a change in power does not automatically lead to improvements: “Tanzania is a negative example, where the President has limited the scope for journalists.” The East African country fell to 25 ranks on Position 118.