Bangladesh drops one notch in World Press Freedom Index

21 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh has ranked 152nd among 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index (WPFI) 2021 while its position was 151st last year, according to Reporters Without Borders, also known as Reporters sans frontières (RSF).

The 2021 World Press Freedom Index shows that journalism, the main vaccine against disinformation, is completely or partly blocked in 73% of the 180 countries ranked by the organisation, reports UNB.

This year’s index, which evaluates the press freedom situation in 180 countries and territories annually, shows that journalism, which is arguably the best vaccine against the virus of disinformation, is totally blocked or seriously impeded in 73 countries and constrained in 59 others, which together represent 73% of the countries evaluated, , RSF states in an article published on its website.

Independent journalism is being fiercely suppressed in Bangladesh (down 1 at 152nd), Sri Lanka (127th) and Nepal (up 6 at 106th) – the latter’s rise in the Index being due more to falls by other countries than to any real improvement in media freedom, it said.

 These countries are classified as having “very bad,” “bad” or “problematic” environments for press freedom, and are identified accordingly in black, red or orange on the World Press Freedom map.

The Index data reflect a dramatic deterioration in people’s access to information and an increase in obstacles to news coverage. The coronavirus pandemic has been used as grounds to block journalists’ access to information sources and reporting in the field.

The data shows that journalists are finding it increasingly hard to investigate and report sensitive stories, especially in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

“Journalism is the best vaccine against disinformation,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

“Unfortunately, its production and distribution are too often blocked by political, economic, technological and, sometimes, even cultural factors. In response to the virality of disinformation across borders, on digital platforms and via social media, journalism provides the most effective means of ensuring  that  public debate is based on a diverse range of established facts.”

Norway  ranked first in the Index for the fifth year running even though its media have complained of a lack of access to state-held information about the pandemic. Finland maintained its position in second place while Sweden (up 1 at 3rd) recovered its third place ranking, which it had yielded to Denmark (down 1 at 4th) last year. The 2021 Index demonstrates the success of these Nordic nations’ approach towards upholding press freedom.

 


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