The UK remains one of the worst counties in western Europe for freedom of the press, according to the latest report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Ranked 33rd in the list of 180 countries, Britain was placed behind Jamaica, Surinam, Ghana, Namibia, South Africa, Latvia and Lichtenstein in the advocacy group’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.
Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt appointed Amal Clooney as special envoy on media freedom earlier this month as part of a global campaign on reporting restrictions. Yet the UK is ranked lower than any of its western European neighbours except Italy.
“We should hold ourselves to a higher standard, and seek to be one of the best, not worst-performing countries in western Europe,” said RSF’s UK director Rebecca Vincent. “Too often steps taken in the name of national security trample press freedom.”
The US slipped three places to 48th in the world as a result of its increasingly hostile climate towards journalists. The report said that never before have US reporters been subjected to so many death threats or turned so often to private security for protection.