Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

Slovakia drops in press freedom ranking

Hatred of journalism threatens democracies, and journalists are killed even in Europe, RSF Index 2018 finds.

Policemen guard the entrance to offices of news website Aktuality.sk, the employer of the murdered investigative journalist Ján Kuciak, in Bratislava.(Source: AP/SITA)

The 2018 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters without Borders (Reporters sans Frontiéres, RSF), reflects the growing animosity towards journalists. Hostility towards the media, openly encouraged by political leaders, and the efforts of authoritarian regimes to export their vision of journalism pose a threat to democracies, the index summed up in a press release.

The Index annually evaluates the level of press freedom in 180 countries, and most recently, it has found that the atmosphere of hatred is ever more and more palpable, with animosity being demonstrated by political leaders no longer only in authoritarian countries like Turkey and Egypt.

Read also:Valček Interview: With Ján Kuciak, we got to the Mafia through Trošková

For example the United States has fallen again in the Index under Donald Trump, this time two places to 45th. A media-bashing enthusiast, Trump has referred to reporters “enemies of the people,” the term once used by Joseph Stalin, RSF comments.

Regional indicators worsening, two CEE countries pinpointed

The line separating verbal violence from physical violence is disappearing, the international NGO writes, continuing that verbal violence from politicians against the media is also on the rise in Europe, even though it is the region that respects press freedom the most. In the Czech Republic (down 11 at 34th), President Miloš Zeman turned up at a press conference with a fake Kalashnikov inscribed with the words “for journalists”.

In Slovakia, (down 10 at 27th), then Prime Minister Robert Fico called journalists “filthy anti-Slovak prostitutes” and “idiotic hyenas”, RSF point out, adding that Slovak reporter Ján Kuciak was shot dead in his home in February 2018, just four months after another European journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, was killed by a targeted car-bombing in Malta (down 18 at 65th).

In Europe where press freedom is the biggest, the regional indicator has worsened the most this year, the RSF regional report notes. Four of this year’s five biggest drops in the Index are those of European countries: Malta (down 18 at 65th), the Czech Republic (down 11 at 34th), Serbia (down 10 at 76th) and Slovakia (down 10 at 27th).

Read also:UPDATED: Investigative journalist killed in his house

The European model’s slow erosion is continuing, and besides the two murders, threats to investigative reporters and unprecedented verbal attacks on the media have contributed, the regional report points out. Even the countries at the top of the Index are affected by this alarming climate. Two murders in the space of five months have capped a worrying decline for the continent’s democracies.

What is the World Press Freedom Index?

Published annually by RSF since 2002, the World Press Freedom Index measures the level of media freedom in 180 countries, including pluralism, media independence, the environment and self-censorship, the legal framework, transparency, and the quality of the infrastructure supporting the production of news and information. It does not evaluate government policy.

The global indicator and the regional indicators are calculated on the basis of the scores assigned to each country. These country scores are calculated from answers to a questionnaire in 20 languages completed by experts around the world, supported by a qualitative analysis.

The processing of personal data is subject to our Privacy Policy and the Cookie Policy. Before submitting your e-mail address, please make sure to acquaint yourself with these documents.

Top stories

Institutions can be quickly destroyed, but they are hard to build

Head of the To Dá Rozum intiative, Renáta Hall, talks about the impacts of a dispute between the academy of sciences and the Education Ministry.

Renáta Hall

Man from Russian sanction list trained president’s and PM’s bodyguards

Denis Riauzov is on the sanctions list and the secret services believe he is a Russian agent.

He survived the Paris attacks: Slovakia healed me, he says

I stepped back into life and learned to live again here. I don’t think I could have done it in Paris, says Thomas Tran Dinh.

I found people in Slovakia who try to understand and balance things, says Thomas Tran Dinh.

What does this man know?

Prosecutor searches for witness in the case of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová’s murder.

Identikit picture of possible witness in Kuciak murder case.