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Africa Marks World Press Freedom Day But Journalism Under Threat

As the world marks World Press Freedom Day 2021, Africa cannot ignore how 2020, in many parts of the world, was terrible for the press. Two ranking measures - the World Press Freedom Index 2021 and African Media Barometer publications - indicate that journalists globally continued to face multiple challenges. These included intimidation, physical or online harassment, surveillance, disappearance, threats, arbitrary arrests, assaults, and lack of access to public facilities, authorities or data. Reporters Without Borders reported that 50 journalists from around the world died in the course of duty. Their deaths were linked to investigative stories about corruption, misuse of public funds, organised crime, and the coverage of protests. These assaults on press freedom occurred within the Covid-19 pandemic, which compounded existing problems.

Each year, the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) publishes the World Press Freedom Index, which ranks 180 countries according to their media independence, transparency, acts of violence against journalists, and several other criteria. According to the latest survey, published in April 2021, journalism is seriously under threat in almost three-quarters of all countries - the report describes the situation in those places as "problematic," "bad," or "very bad." Only 12 countries have respectable press-freedom environments, the lowest number since 2013 when the current evaluation methodology was adopted.

InFocus

(File photo).

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