PARIS: In its annual evaluation, the watchdog group Reporters Without Borders ranked Pakistan 159 out of 180 countries where media freedom suffered a “drastic decline” in 2014.
World media freedom suffered due to the insurgence of extremist groups such as the Islamic State and Boko Haram, the evaluation found.
“There has been an overall deterioration linked to very different factors, with information wars, and action by non-state groups acting like news despots,” the head of the Paris-based group, Christophe Deloire, told AFP.
The Reporters Without Borders 2015 World Press Freedom Index stated that there were 3,719 violations of freedom of information in 180 countries in 2014 – eight per cent more than a year earlier.
All parties in conflicts raging in the Middle East and Ukraine were waging “a fearsome information war” where media personnel were directly targeted to be killed, captured or pressured to relay propaganda, it said.
The Islamic State group active in Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram in northern Nigeria and Cameroon, and criminal organisations in Italy and Latin America all used “fear and reprisals to silence journalists and bloggers who dare to investigate or refuse to act as their mouthpieces,” said the watchdog, known by its French initials RSF.
RSF’s ranking put Iran, China, Syria and North Korea among the countries with the very worst levels of press freedom out of the 180 evaluated.
Repression of journalists in Ukraine and in Turkey earned both spots in the bottom quarter of the table.
The best-rated nations were northern European states such as Finland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, with New Zealand, Canada and Jamaica also making the top 10.
The United States ranked 49, three spots lower than in the previous report, in part because of US government’s “war on information” against WikiLeaks and others.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2015.