• 2015: Regimes seeking ever more information control

    You might have thought that the world’s most despotic and closed states would be satisfied with keeping news and information under control. Instead, they have continued to reinforce and improve their methods of censorship and repression. Despite apparently stagnating at the bottom of the press freedom index, 15 of the 20 worst-ranked countries have actually seen their scores fall in the past year. How do they manage to keep getting worse?

  • 2015: European model’s erosion

    Europe has been drifting downwards in the press freedom index for years. It held steady in last year’s index but, overall, it fell again in the 2015 index although the Nordic countries continued to hold the top positions. This general decline reinforces concern about the sustainability of the “European model.”

  • 2015: Covering demonstrations becoming increasingly hazardous

    Journalists play a critical role in newsgathering, observing and witnessing at demonstrations. By their very nature, these are events of public interest. In keeping with a pattern set in 2013, the year was marked by increased violence against news providers covering protest gatherings.

  • 2015: “National security” – spurious grounds

    “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” So said Benjamin Franklin, one of the US founding fathers, in the 18th century. Two centuries later, security is the grounds most often given by governments – both those that are democratic and those that are not – for trampling on fundamental freedoms and gagging the media.

  • 2015: Non-state groups: tyrants of information

    Besides pressure from governments, journalists also faced violent threats from non-state groups in 2014. Far from being a homogenous whole, these groups pursue various goals including expansionist, political or financial and criminal aims.

  • 2015: News control - powerful weapon of war

    Many governments and non-state actors used control and manipulation of media coverage as a weapon of war in 2014. Ranging from over-coverage to complete news blackout, it creates a hostile climate for journalists and has disastrous consequences for media pluralism.