How Authoritarian Leaders Instigate Hatred Toward Journalists Worldwide, Study Finds

A study has suggested that authoritarian leaders across the world instigate hatred against journalists.

A report released Thursday concludes disdain for journalists throughout the world has increased during the past year, due primarily to the behavior of authoritarian leaders.

Photo: Dhaka Tribune

The 2019 World Press Freedom Index report, conducted by Reporters Without Borders, said “authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media,” resulting in a “hatred of journalists” that has “degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear.”

The United States’ ranking in the annual index of press freedom declined for the third time in three years, a result of U.S. President Donald Trump’s regular threats to reporters and his inflammatory remarks about the media, the report said.

The U.S. ranked 48th among the 180 nations and territories that were surveyed, maintaining a descent that started in 2016. For the first time since the report started in 2002, the United States was included in a category of countries where the treatment of journalists is described as “problematic.”

The report said while a deterioration of the press freedom climate in the U.S. predated Trump’s presidency, the first year of his time in office “has fostered further decline in journalists’ right to report.” The report cited Trump’s repeated declarations of the news media as an “enemy of the American people,” attempts to deny White House access to “multiple media outlets,” regular use of the term “fake news” in retaliation to critical reporting, and calls to revoke the broadcasting licenses of “certain media outlets.”

It noted that hatred toward reporters prompted a gunman to murder four journalists and another employee last June at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland just east of Washington. The gunman had mental health issues and was angry with the newspaper for reporting about his pleading guilty to criminal harassment in 2011. “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,” the report said. European countries once again occupied most of the spots at the top of the index. Norway topped the list for the third consecutive year, followed by Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark. The United Kingdom ranked 33rd, rising seven spots since last year. But the report said the U.K. “remained one of the worst-performing countries in Western Europe,” noting its more favorable ranking was due to the sharp deterioration of press freedom in other countries.

The countries at the bottom of the list were dominated by Asian countries. Turkmenistan ranked 180, topped by North Korea, Eritrea, China and Vietnam in ascending order.

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The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, (formerly Anambra State University), Igbariam Campus.

21 Comments

Add a Comment
  1. Journalism is something to support and not to hate because information is the life wire to any developing or developed country.
    Ogbonna Florence

  2. Journalists go through a lot why all this?

  3. That’s not fair

  4. What have journalists done to deserve this kind of hatred????

  5. I believe the Authoritarian Leaders hate Journalist worldwide because they know journalists exposse the ills of government.

  6. Udogu Ogechi Victory

    Nobody wants to be exposed. The government don’t want the journalist to investigate on them and expose them by writing about them. journalism is for the strong mind

  7. Authoritarian leaders and journalists are like salt and water

    1. Authoritarian leaders and journalists are like water and oil

  8. oluoha chinelo lorita

    that’s the least the can do .

  9. Ezeh vivian chinaecherem

    Why all this?

  10. All these autocrats, hmmmm,i comment my reserve

  11. Ezedimbu uchenna Vivian

    Why won’t dey hate it ,because dey always digg out the truth about them.

  12. Ezedimbu uchenna Vivian

    Nawa ooo

  13. Ezedimbu uchenna Vivian

    That is bad ooo

  14. Igbokwe chioma helen

    Not good enough

  15. Chidozie chiazokam Jennifer

    This is not good.

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