US Drops to 48th in the World for Press Freedom

It’s a common refrain from leaders and politicians that the United States is first in the world — in what, though, it’s not entirely clear. And if a new report from Reporters Without Borders is any indication, the United States is far from the top when it come to freedom of the press.

In fact, according to the latest ranking, the United States has dropped three places, falling to number 48 – behind countries such as Romania, Latvia and Chile. This puts the U.S. in the “problematic” category, reserved for countries displaying a worrying decline in journalistic freedoms.

Reporters Without Borders is an organization that monitors press freedoms and advocates for journalism rights around the globe. Every year, the group releases its rankings — and, sadly, its most recent report finds a worldwide trend of declining press freedoms.

It should not come as any great surprise that the United States’ ranking is slipping, however. While this did not necessarily begin under the current administration, President Donald Trump has displayed time and again an open hostility toward journalists since entering the White House.

Not only has Trump repeatedly sparred with members of the White House press corps and frequently taken to Twitter to smear journalists, he’s made a point of openly defying press and human rights. And this inclination was no doubt made particularly clear with the case of Jamal Khashoggi.

Though it is hard to deny that Saudi Arabia was behind the Washington Post journalist’s murder, Trump and his administration have given Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s word more credence than various foreign governments, as well as U.S. intelligence services.

But this is hardly the only act of violence and intimidation against those working for American media in the past year. A bevy of newsrooms across the country have reported bomb threats, including the so-called MAGA bomber, Cesar Sayoc, who mailed crude bombs to multiple of Trump’s political opponents, in addition to targeting CNN.

Others have been arrested over threatening violence against journalists and media outlets. And in another case, an individual attacked a newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five.

The First Amendment arguably contains some of the most valuable freedoms guaranteed to Americans by the Constitution, including freedom of the press. When the president of the United States repeatedly calls journalists in this country the “enemy of the people,” his supporters listen. In journalists, they find an object on which to direct their discontent and frustration — and, in some cases, lash out against.

The fact that Trump continues to not be held accountable for inciting violence against one of the most important institutions in a functional democracy should be chilling.

Photo Credit: UNclimatechange/Flickr

78 comments

Elaine W
Elaine Wyesterday

This low rank is an embarrassing shame and does not bode well for a Democracy.

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danii p
danii p9 days ago

thanks for sharing

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danii p
danii p9 days ago

thanks for sharing

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danii p
danii p9 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Freya H
Freya H10 days ago

Keep up the good work, O Beloved Orange One, and the USA will fall even farther. What with our hero the Mango Menace has plenty of chumps to do his bidding or defend his every action - a few of whom are on Care2, just read the comment section for this article - that is a dire possibility.

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Ben O
Ben O12 days ago

"A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad"
(Albert Camus)

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Susanne R
Susanne R15 days ago

Paul B. - Regarding, "If they would fairly report the news, as in a little return to journalism, he would have no problem with them, even if the reporting is negative, as long as it isn't misrepresented, twisted or out right lies." (I could hear the violins playing in the background.)

How could you possibly know trump so well? Do you have a close, personal relationship with him? Are you a friend and confidant? His therapist or confessor, perhaps? No one could know that he is actually as you described him without knowing him personally.

trump's skin in thinner than that of any living being!!! Have you read any of his tweets? Heard him speak at his MAGA "please love me" ralllies? He attacks anyone and everyone who doesn't fawn over him! He give people offensive nicknames, often when HE's the one at fault. What do you see in this man?

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Paul B
Paul B16 days ago

David,
When Trump says Fake News is the enemy of the people, the MSM knows that they are the ones producing fake news so they must assume he is referring to them. They know they are guilty, so they take it personally. That may be true, but that is not what Trump said or meant. If they would fairly report the news, as in a little return to journalism, he would have no problem with them, even if the reporting is negative, as long as it isn't misrepresented, twisted or out right lies.
I am surprised with their lowest ratings ever, they would learn that lesson... but they are so "attached" to the Dem party, they have to keep pushing the lies. IT's all they have given the successes Trump is delivering all the time.

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Joan E
Joan E18 days ago

Get rid of Trump. We need our country back.

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Ben O
Ben O18 days ago

Holy crap!

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