NEW report has suggested that the threats faced by journalists are becoming the standard in the United States, making the country a less safe place for newsmen.
The report by an international press freedom organization dropped the U.S. to No. 48 out of 180 on its annual World Press Freedom Index.
The drop by Reporters Sans Frontières, or Reporters Without Borders downgrades the country from a “satisfactory” place to work freely to a “problematic” one for journalists.
Part of the report says: “Never before have US journalists been subjected to so many death threats or turned so often to private security firms for protection,” the report stated.
Ten journalists have been physically attacked this year, and 46 since 2017. In January, one reporter was punched in the face and her phone stolen, while interviewing voters in California.
The report also pointed a finger at President Trump who, it said, “exacerbates” press freedom problems with his repeated declarations that journalists are an “enemy of the American people,” his accusations of “fake news,” his calls to revoke broadcasting licenses and his efforts to block specific outlets from access to the White House.
Researchers identified the most oppressive countries as North Korea and Turkmenistan, where the governments maintain a strong grip on their countries’ flow of information and silence journalists who defy them through harassment, arrest, torture or killing.
Norway ranked as the safest country for the third year in a row, followed by Finland.
And Ethiopia offered a glimmer of hope under the new leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who released detained journalists. The country rose 40 spots in the index ranking.