Spain drops to 32nd place in the world ranking of press freedom

EP

The non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) warned on Tuesday of a "new era of polarization", reinforced by "information chaos", which is leading to an increase in "social fractures" at the international level in the face of a growing polarization also between states. A statistic from which Spain does not come out well. Spain has fallen three places in the world ranking of press freedom. It falls, specifically, to position number 32, despite the fact that the climate of violence against journalists has eased with the deactivation of the Catalan conflict. What has increased is the "political polarization" in the media.

The World Press Freedom Index, which analyzes the conditions in which journalism is practiced in 180 countries and territories, includes "the disastrous effects of information chaos, created by a globalized and unregulated digital space, which favors false information and propaganda.

Thus, the NGO has pointed out that "in democratic societies, the development of opinion media in the style of Fox News and the generalization of disinformation circuits, driven by social networks, are causing an increase in social fractures."

"At the international level, the asymmetry that exists between, on the one hand, open societies and despotic regimes that control their media and their platforms, while waging propaganda wars, weakens democracies," he explained, before stressing that "in both levels, this double polarization is a factor of intensification of tensions».

RSF has given Russia's invasion of Ukraine as an example and has said that "it was prepared through a propaganda war", while pointing out that China "has used its legislative arsenal to confine its population and isolate it from the rest of the world, especially Hong Kong.

In these cases, Russia ranks 155th -- down five places from the previous year -- while Ukraine ranks 106th -- down nine places. For its part, China appears at 175 --with an improvement of two places--, with Hong Kong at 148 --which sinks 68 places in the list--.

"In democratic regimes, media polarization reinforces and feeds the internal fractures of societies, as is the case in the United States -position 42-- despite the election of Joe Biden," he said. "The rise of social and political tensions is fueled by social networks and by new media outlets in countries like France -position 26--", she added.

The Nordic model, at the head

In this way, the list is headed by Norway, Denmark and Sweden, which "remain a model in which freedom of expression is realized in all its splendor." Following behind are Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Portugal and Costa Rica, all of them with a "good" situation.

Behind there are 40 countries in a "fairly good" situation, including Spain, Germany, Canada, Belgium, the United Kingdom, France, Argentina, South Africa, Burkina Faso, the United States, South Korea and Uruguay, while more than 60 are in a "problematic" situation, including Andorra, Romania, Italy, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Japan, Panama, Peru, Chile, Hungary, Israel, Bulgaria, Tunisia, Paraguay, Ukraine, Greece and Brazil.

42 countries appear in a "difficult" situation, including Brazil, Mali, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Thailand, Qatar, Jordan, Guatemala, Bolivia, Mexico, Nigeria, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Libya, Colombia , Philippines, Turkey and India.

Finally, a total of 28 countries close the list with a "very serious" situation, including Belarus, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Cuba, Vietnam, China, Burma, Iran, Eritrea and North Korea.

In this context, RSF has emphasized that the European Union (EU) is the scene of very relevant disparities and the situation between the two extremes only worsens«, with Greece »at the bottom of Europe«, in the position 108.

“These disparate developments reflect three notable trends: first, the return of murders of journalists on EU soil”, referring to Giorgios Karaivaz and Peter R. De Vries, murdered in 2021 in Greece and the Netherlands, respectively, “by purest mafia style ».

RSF has also indicated that "journalists have been mistakenly assimilated to the authorities and have had to face virulent hostility from protesters opposed to measures to combat the coronavirus", with a "high number of physical attacks" in Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

In another order of things, he has spoken of "an upward repression in Eastern Europe and Central Asia", with "devastating consequences on freedom of expression" derived from the invasion of Ukraine, including five journalists killed during the first month of the offensive.

"In Russia, power has assumed total control of information, establishing a growing war censorship, blocking the media and hunting down critical journalists, pushing them into mass exile," the organization explained. He added that "the Kremlin imposes its vision of the war on some neighbors, especially Belarus."

"Increasingly toxic" environment in Latin America

On the other hand, RSF has warned that in America "journalists carry out their informative work in an increasingly deteriorated and toxic environment", with the pandemic as "an accelerator of censorship", while "distrust of the press has continued to gain ground.

Thus, he has said that this trend is "fueled by a rhetoric against the media and a generalization of stigmatizing speeches by the political class, especially in Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and El Salvador, which "weakens the profession and encourages abusive judicial processes, smear campaigns and intimidation, especially against women«.

Nicaragua registers the largest drop in the region, with a drop of 39 positions, after the November 2021 elections. "The last bastions of the independent press are under siege and the vast majority of independent journalists, threatened by abusive legal actions, have had to flee the country," said RSF.

Adding to this situation is El Salvador, which for the second consecutive year registered one of the steepest falls --with a loss of 30 positions--, in part due to the "dangerous game" of the president, Nayib Bukele, of "multiplying the attacks and threats against journalists critical of his administration, thus creating the image of a press enemy of the people.

Mexico, in 127th place, has also recorded the murder of seven journalists, thus remaining the deadliest country in the world for the press. In fact, it ranks 179th --out of 180-- in the security indicator for journalists.

information control

Thus, the general secretary of RSF, Christophe Deloire, has stated that «Russia Today's editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonian, revealed the basis of her thinking in a program on the Russia One network, when she stated: 'no great nation can exist without controlling information'".

"The deployment of media weapons in authoritarian countries annihilates the right to information of their citizens and explains, at the same time, the increase in tensions at the international level that can lead to the worst wars," he argued.

"In the internal sphere, the 'foxnewsization' of the media is a disastrous danger for democracies, because it undermines the foundations of civil harmony and tolerant public debate," said Deloire, in statements included in the presentation of the report. of the organization.

For this reason, he has defended that "in the face of these drifts, it is urgent to make the necessary decisions, promoting a 'New Deal' for journalism, as proposed by the Forum on Information and Democracy, and adopting an adequate legal framework that creates a system of protection of democratic information spaces.

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