Press freedom: where France stands in the new ranking unveiled this Friday by Reporters Without Borders ?

Reporters Without Borders unveiled its world press freedom rankings this Friday, May 3, 2024. Norway is still in the lead, France gains three places and Argentina, now led by Javier Milei, is among the countries losing the most places.

Reporters Without Borders revealed its annual press freedom rankings this Friday, May 3, 2024. Political pressure on the press is increasing around the world even as half of the planet votes this year, warns the NGO.

France in 21st position

Norway remains at the top of this 21st press freedom ranking, while Eritrea comes in last position, 180th, after North Korea the previous two years.< /p>

"The independence of the media is sacred. The government is careful not to intervene, the media do not belong to oligarchs with interests other than in the media sector, verbal attacks are extremely rare. Even if they arrive, they are immediately condemned. It's a whole media system that is very protected, details Pavol Szalai, head of the European Union and Balkans office of the NGO on France Info.

France moves from 24th to 21st place due to the "ranking mechanics", while indicators of the country "stagnant", notes Anne Bocandé, editorial director of the NGO for the defense of journalists on South West.

"There are problems that persist: the independence of certain private media, last year we had the arrest and search of the journalist Ariane Lavrilleux, a serious attack on the confidentiality of sources, and the situation is also complicated from the economic point of view of the media in general", explains Pavol Szalai.

Argentina one of the most worrying cases

Among the most worrying cases: Argentina. Now led by the ultraliberal Javier Milei, one of the "claimed predators of press freedom", estimates RSF. The country is among those losing the most places in the annual ranking. Last March, the new president notably announced the closure of the public press agency Télam, accused of "propaganda".

Censorship in Asia

Eastern Europe and Central Asia as well, "media censorship has intensified, in a spectacular mimicry of Russian acts of repression", observe RSF specialists citing Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan  and Azerbaijan. Russia, where Vladimir Putin was re-elected in March, ranks 162nd.

As HuffPost reports, The Arsenal of Disinformation has been enriched with generative artificial intelligence. As evidenced by a "deepfake" audio of which journalist Monika Todova was the victim in Slovakia before the legislative elections last fall. Content which "clearly benefited from the pro-Russian disinformation that is rampant in the country", according to RSF.< /p>

Elsewhere in Europe, press freedom is "tested by the ruling majorities in Hungary, Malta and Greece". In more than three quarters of the world's countries, there is regular involvement of political actors in propaganda or disinformation campaigns. This involvement is described as "systematic" in 31 countries.

An improvement in Chile, Brazil and Poland

The situation is improving in Chile (+31 places) in Poland (+10 places) and in Poland (+10 places). "Political will can allow for better guarantees" for the media, underlines Anne Bocandé. The association proposes concrete measures at each electoral deadline.

Furthermore, the NGO denounces "the manifest absence of political will of the international community to enforce the principles of protection of journalists& quot; in Gaza. More than 100 Palestinian reporters were killed by the Israeli army, including at least 22 in the exercise of their duties, recalls RSF.

Thus, journalists would not be sufficiently protected by States. Reporters Without Borders also points out "a worrying deterioration in support and respect for media autonomy.

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