In seven out of ten countries, journalism is “very serious”.

2023-05-03 04:00:02

Every year on International Press Freedom Day on May 3rd, “Reporters Without Borders (RSF)” publishes the current global ranking of press freedom. But the situation has never been as bad as this year: According to the World Press Freedom Index 2023, which has been assessing the environment in 180 countries for 21 years now, the situation is “very serious” in 31 countries, “difficult” in 42″, “difficult” in 42 55 “problematic” and only 52 “satisfactory”.

In other words, the environment for journalism is “poor” in seven out of ten countries and “satisfactory” in only three out of ten countries. Overall, only eight countries can be happy about a “good” situation for journalists.

The bottom three places are occupied exclusively by Asian countries: Vietnam, which has almost completed its hunt for independent reporters; China (179th, down 4 places), which jails the most journalists in the world and is one of the largest exporters of propaganda content; and North Korea at the bottom (180th place).

The 2023 Index also highlights the rapid impact of the fake content industry on press freedom. In 118 countries, respondents indicated that political actors in their countries are often or systematically involved in massive disinformation or propaganda campaigns. The distinction between true and false, real and artificial, fact and fiction is being blurred and jeopardizing the right to information.

Artificial intelligence as a threat

The variety of ways to manipulate content is used to weaken quality journalism. In addition, the development of artificial intelligence is shaking the media world. It summarizes all the disinformation spread and then spits it out as a new truth.

Austria has moved up slightly to 29th place out of 180 countries in the press freedom index. With a score of 77.3 (previous year: 76.7) it is in the middle of the countries classified as “satisfactory”. The improvement was preceded by a fall in the previous year’s ranking from 17th to 31st place. Only the announcement of improvements prevented another crash, the Austria section of RSF found: “Last year’s crash has become more permanent,” says RSF Austria President Fritz Hausjell. The media policy “did not succeed in rehabilitating the endangered freedom of the press in Austria”. The organization is also critical of the fact that no capping of funds from public bodies for advertisements is planned for the new quality journalism funding either. “The new Media Transparency Act has not put a stop to corrupt relationships between the government and the media,” says Hausjell.

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