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Global press freedom on the decline: Reporters Without Borders

The world has seen a clear deterioration in media freedom, according to a global watchdog. Some regions of the world have become worse than others.

Advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said on Wednesday press freedom had experienced a "deep and disturbing decline" in 2015, as war, organized crime and corruption, among other concerns, had led to a clampdown on free speech.

According to the World Press Index, which ranks 180 countries according to things like media independence, self-censorship, rule of law and transparency, every region in the world saw a major decline.

Latin America, in particular, fared poorly in 2015, with countries like Venezuela and Ecuador suffering from "institutionalized violence," and journalists in Honduras, Colombia and Brazil suffocating from crime, impunity and corruption, respectively.

'A new era of propaganda'

"We are entering a new era of propaganda where new technologies allow the low-cost dissemination of their own communication, their information, as dictated," Christophe Deloire of Reporters Without Borders told AFP news agency. "On the other side, journalists are the ones who get in the way."

Syria, which has experienced constant warfare for around five years, was among the lowest-ranked countries on the list, but Reporters Without Borders noted that journalists across the Middle East and Central Asia, in general, became victims of terrorism and violence.

In East Asia, meanwhile, democracies like

Japan

and South Korea saw a sharp decline in press freedom, while China's Communist Party was accused of taking "repression to new heights."

Europe has the freest media, according to the report, but countries like Poland and Hungary scored fairly low on the index because of government efforts to suppress dissent.

blc/jil (AFP, AP)

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