Freedom and the Media 2019: A Downward Spiral
Sarah Repucci, Senior Director for Research & Analysis, Freedom House
Analysis, Blog, Monitoring
ADVANCED, BEGINNER, INTERMEDIATE
Threats to media freedom are having dangerous impacts on the state of democracy worldwide. The Freedom House report, Freedom and the Media 2019, finds that leaders intent on consolidating power are finding new ways to repress independent journalism in democracies and authoritarian states alike.
Along with an analysis of the global trends impacting media, the report includes in-depth essays, as well as recommendations, on the following themes:
- An overview of the state of press freedom around the world, based on our press freedom subcategory scores from Freedom in the World
- The implications for democracy of China’s globalizing media influence
- The new tools authoritarian leaders are using in fragile democracies to control and co-opt the media in Hungary and Serbia
- How social media have affected press freedom, for better and worse, and how policymakers should respond
The fundamental right to seek and disseminate information through an independent press is under attack, and part of the assault has come from an unexpected source. Elected leaders in many democracies, who should be press freedom’s staunchest defenders, have made explicit attempts to silence critical media voices and strengthen outlets that serve up favorable coverage. The trend is linked to a global decline in democracy itself: The erosion of press freedom is both a symptom of and a contributor to the breakdown of other democratic institutions and principles, a fact that makes it especially alarming.