Germany has fallen in the press freedom rankings for the third year in a row. The background is the attacks against media workers, of which there were more than ever before. The human rights organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) sees the Federal Republic in 21st place, behind countries such as Slovakia and Samoa.
"The descent of five places can be explained above all by the passing of other countries that have improved significantly," said RSF in Berlin on Press Freedom Day this Wednesday. In Germany, on the other hand, violence against journalists continues to increase: "With 103 physical attacks, RSF documents the highest level since records began in 2015."
Many attacks in East Germany
According to the RSF, there were 80 such attacks in the 2021 calendar year, and 65 incidents in 2020. "As the current close-up shows, with 87 out of 103 cases the majority of the attacks took place in conspiracy ideological, anti-Semitic and extreme right-wing contexts. Although the corona pandemic subsided in 2022, demonstrations continued, sometimes on other topics, so that meetings in 2022 the most dangerous places for the press remained. Two-thirds of the attacks happened in East Germany."
According to the RSF, the suppression of undesirable reporting is increasing worldwide. "Crises, wars and the continuing spread of authoritarianism have meant that the situation with regard to press freedom has been more unstable in the past year than it has been for a long time."
North Korea in last place
The last places on the list are consistently occupied by regimes in Asia, such as Vietnam (178): "Imprisoned media workers are sometimes exposed to appalling prison conditions: They are mistreated, isolated and receive no medical care." The situation in China also deteriorated further (179). "In no other country are more journalists in prison because of their work, currently there are at least 100. More than ten of them could die in prison if they are not released immediately." As can be expected, North Korea (180) remains in last place, where the government does not permit any independent reporting.
Not surprisingly, Russia's position in the rankings fell nine places to 164. "Since the beginning of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, almost all independent media have been banned, blocked and classified as so-called foreign agents," according to the human rights activists. In Mexico (ranked 128th), at least eleven media professionals were killed for their work in 2022, more than in any other country in the world. In addition, 28 journalists are said to have disappeared there, many of them for years - also a sad world record.
Norway tops the list for the seventh consecutive year.