The U.S. Is Now A Less Safe Place For Journalists

Capitol Gazette newspaper building
Police gather near the Capitol Gazette newspaper office where a shooting occurred in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

A newly released annual report by Reporters Without Borders called the “World Press Freedom Index,” reveals a disheartening state of the freedom of the press around the globe—including in the U.S.

“The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media,” the report says.

The United States has now become a less safe place for journalists, ranking at No. 48 out of the 180 countries and territories on the list. The U.S. has dropped three notches since the 2018 report.

“Never before have US journalists been subjected to so many death threats or turned so often to private security firms for protection,” the report stated.

Ten journalists have been physically attacked in the U.S. this year, and 46 have been attacked since 2017. Included in that list are the five Capital Gazette reporters who were killed in their newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland last June by a man who had been threatening that publication for years.

The report also pointed a finger at President Trump, who has repeatedly called the press “the enemy of the people,” has accused media organizations of promoting “fake news,” and has tried to block news outlets like CNN from having access to the White House.

There are, however, a few bright spots in the report. Under the new leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia rose 40 spots in the ranking. The Ethiopian government recently released imprisoned journalists and lifted the ban on hundreds of websites.


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