Mon | Jan 27, 2020

Jamaica drops two places to eighth in 2019 press freedom ranking

Published:Thursday | April 18, 2019 | 10:57 AM

Jamaica has dropped two places from sixth in 2018 to eighth this year in the annual global press freedom index.

The 2019 index, released this morning, showed that although Jamaica has dropped two places, it has the best ranking of the Caribbean countries assessed.

This year, 180 countries are ranked for their degrees of press freedom.

Norway was ranked first and Turkmenistan 180th. 

According to the global press freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), although Jamaica ranks among the countries that most respect freedom of information, in May, it had to raise concerns with the Parliament regarding the drafted Data Protection Act.

RSF says, if passed, the law could have a chilling effect on journalists.

The report also highlighted as a step in the right direction, the 2013 law to decriminalise defamation.

Meanwhile, the United States has dropped three places to 48th.

RSF says the US is "marred" by the effects of President Donald Trump’s second year in office.

The drop has placed the US in the orange zone, meaning there is a noticeably problematic press freedom environment.

 Canada remains ranked at 18th for a second year.

RSF says this can be attributed less to any perceived improvements in the nation’s situation and more so to the worldwide deterioration of press freedom elsewhere.

However, overall RSF says the 2019 World Press Freedom Index shows how the hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear. 

"The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media," said an RSF spokesperson in a media release. 

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