World Press Freedom: Haiti ranks 53, higher than most in Latin America

Posted by on Thursday, February 22, 2018 Under: National
Related image

The 2017 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reflects a world in which attacks on the media have become commonplace and strongmen are on the rise. We have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda, and suppression of freedoms – especially in democracies.

RSF’s latest World Press Freedom Index highlights the danger of a tipping point in the state of media freedom, especially in leading democratic countries. (Read our analysis entitled Journalism weakened by democracy’s erosion.) Democracies began falling in the Index in preceding years and now, more than ever, nothing seems to be checking that fall. 

The obsession with surveillance and violations of the right to the confidentiality of sources have contributed to the continuing decline of many countries previously regarded as virtuous. This includes the United States (down 2 places at 43rd), the United Kingdom (down 2 at 40th), Chile (down 2 at 33rd), and New Zealand (down 8 at 13th). 

Donald Trump’s rise to power in the United States and the Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom were marked by high-profile media bashing, a highly toxic anti-media discourse that drove the world into a new era of post-truth, disinformation, and fake news. 

Haiti has maintained its 2016 spot of 53. 

Despite recent changes in Haiti’s media freedom laws, journalists suffer from a cruel lack of financial resources, an absence of institutional support, and difficulty in accessing information. Journalists continue to be the victims of intimidation or physical violence. A devastating earthquake in 2010 and, more recently, Hurricane Matthew in 2016 inflicted a great deal of damage on Haiti’s already limited infrastructure. The privately-owned media, which are heavily influenced by the interests of their shareholders, tend to censor themselves. Journalists will be exposed to heavy sanctions under a proposed defamation law that was approved by the senate in 2017.

It should be noted however that Haiti ranks higher than the Dominican Republic which came in 59. Haiti also scores better tham most other countries in the region, such as El Salvador, Peru, Nicaragua, Panama, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Mexico and Cuba.

Costa Rica and Jamaica respectively came first and second in the Americas.

In : National