© Università degli Studi di Padova - Credits: HCE Web agency
On 21 April, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published its 2020 World Press Freedom Index. According to RSF, the new coronavirus pandemic amplifies existing issues affecting journalism globally. This public health crisis is the latest addition to many critical areas, from economic to geopolitical crisis. The 2020 World Press Freedom Index shows that the next ten years will be crucial for press freedom.
As declared by RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire, the current pandemic is an opportunity for authoritarian governments to impose measures otherwise impossible, taking advantage of politics being on hold and protests being impracticable. Censorship on the new coronavirus outbreak and disproportionate laws have been documented by the NGO, which observes a correlation between a country’s ranking in the Index and the suppression of media freedom related to the pandemic.
RSF launched a monitoring tool called “Tracker 19” in order to collect information about state censorship and deliberate disinformation, with the aim of evaluating the pandemic’s impact on journalism.
RSF is a Paris-based independent NGO with consultative status with the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF). The Word Press Freedom Index, which RSF has published every year since 2002, ranks 180 countries and regions according to the level of freedom available to journalists.