Latvia up four places in world press freedom rankings


Ireland has fallen two places from 14 to 16 in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, due to what a media watchdog said is the "highly concentrated nature of media ownership in Ireland".

Criticising the Information and Communication Technology Act of Bangladesh, Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) has said growing media self-censorship is the result of endemic violence against journalists and media outlets in the country.

The authors of the report explain such slow progress partially with the disappointments after the Revolution of Dignity expectations.

The UK fell two places previous year amid threats to press freedom from the Snooper's Charter, Espionage Act and Section 40.

"The press freedom situation in Latvia is not as favorable as in neighboring Estonia, and has continued to worsen with the spread of "fake news" of suspected Russian origin", says RSF.

The latest index "reflects growing animosity towards journalists", the organisation said.

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"Political leaders who fuel loathing for reporters bear heavy responsibility because they undermine the concept of public debate based on facts instead of propaganda. To dispute the legitimacy of journalism today is to play with extremely unsafe political fire", added Deloire.

"A media-bashing enthusiast, Trump has referred to reporters as 'enemies of the people, ' a term once used by Joseph Stalin", RSF said.

The threat of state regulation and online intimidation campaigns against journalists left the United Kingdom 40th in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the campaign group based in Paris.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Vietnam, Sudan and Cuba also remain among the worst offenders, according to the RSF ranking of 180 countries.

However, in the Index, Bangladesh's position remains static at 146th place like previous year with 48.62 points. The report singled out journalists who were subject to physical attacks and death threats in Malta, Italy and Poland and also highlighted the use of anti-media rhetoric from lawmakers in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

One notable exception was Taiwan, the RSF said, as it topped the rankings for the continent. It ranks 180 countries and territories by evaluating the level of media freedom.