The U.S. standing in an annual index of press freedom has declined for the third time in three years, according to The Washington Post. In the report, the decline was attributed to Trump’s anti-press rhetoric and the threats he has made to members of the media.
The World Press Freedom Index is compiled by Reporters Without Borders. Among 180 nations and territories surveyed, the U.S. ranked 48th, falling three spots from last year. The U.S. was placed just above Senegal and just below Romania. Norway ranked first, followed by Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, and Denmark. The bottom of the list included Vietnam, China, Eritrea, North Korea, and Turkmenistan.
The report cited Trump’s rhetoric against the American media and the Trump administration’s reduction in White House briefings for the country’s declining status. The report also mentioned the revocation of CNN’s Jim Acosta’s White House press pass; the banning of CNN’s Kaitlan Collins from an open-media event; and the harassment journalists endured at Trump’s reelection rallies. There have also been bomb threats made to newsrooms, an alleged plot to muder prominent media figures and Democratic politicians, and increased security in newsrooms around the country.
The report notes that “hatred of the media” reached the point to which a gunman killed four journalists and another employee at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland.
“Amid one of the American journalism community’s darkest moments, President Trump continued to spout his notorious anti-press rhetoric, disparaging and attacking the media at a national level,” it said. “Simultaneously, journalists across the country reported terrifying harassment and death threats, online and in person, that were particularly abusive toward women and journalists of color.”
Rankings are based on survey responses from media professionals, lawyers, and sociologists. Those results were combined with a database of reported abuses and violence against members of the media.
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