Home » Press Freedom Day 2021: Autocratic leaders are muzzling the media citing ‘fake news’, Covid and national security

Press Freedom Day 2021: Autocratic leaders are muzzling the media citing ‘fake news’, Covid and national security

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Today is World Press Freedom Day. It is a day to mark the importance of freedom of the press and governments’ duty to uphold and respect the right of freedom of expression enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948. This year also marks the 30th Anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration for the Development of a Free, Independent and Pluralistic Press that came at the end of a UNESCO conference in 1991. This declaration is the origin of World Press Freedom Day.

As we look back on 2020, and the first few months of 2021, the situation faced by journalists is in a very precarious position on all corners of the globe.

Photo: RSF.

The World Press Freedom Index for 2021 was released last month. And, in Asia, the list of countries with serious press freedom issues is long. Singapore, Laos, Vietnam, China and North Korea all rank within the lowest category of “very bad” for press freedom. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sir Lanka, and Thailand all rank in the second lowest category of “bad.”

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