Liberia Praised for Increased Press Freedom -As EU, USA Reference RSF Press Freedom Index

MONROVIA: The European Union and its Member States represented in Liberia (Germany, Ireland, France, and Sweden) and the Embassy of the United States of America have welcomed the positive trajectory of increased press freedom over the past five years, as demonstrated by the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Index.

According to a Joint Statement on Press Freedom issued Friday, July 21, 2023 by the European Union and its Member States, and the Embassy of the United States of America, Liberia’s development partners are calling all citizens and stakeholders to respect the exercise of press freedom and to exert proportionality in, and refraining from, measures that could indirectly prevent media stakeholders from carrying out their work.

“We trust that Liberia will carry out the electoral process without any incidents against media stakeholders, thereby reaffirming and strengthening its reputation as the oldest liberal democracy and free society in Africa. All citizens and stakeholders do have a responsibility in this regard, the release stated.

The 21st edition of the World Press Freedom Index, compiled annually by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), sheds light on major and often radical changes linked to political, social and technological upheavals.

According to the 2023 World Press Freedom Index – which evaluates the environment for journalism in 180 countries and territories and is published on World Press Freedom Day (3 May) – the situation is “very serious” in 31 countries, “difficult” in 42, “problematic” in 55, and “good” or “satisfactory” in 52 countries. In other words, the environment for journalism is “bad” in seven out of ten countries, and satisfactory in only three out of ten.

Even if Africa has seen a few significant rises, such as that of Botswana (65th), which has risen 35 places, journalism overall has become more difficult in this continent and the situation is now classified as “bad” in nearly 40% of its countries (against 33% in 2022).  They include Burkina Faso (58th), where local retransmission of international broadcasters has been banned and journalists have been deported, and the Sahel in general, which is in the process of becoming a “no-news zone”. Several journalists have also been murdered in Africa, including Martinez Zongo in Cameroon (138th). In Eritrea (174th), the media remain in President Issaias Afwerki’s despotic grip.

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