Serbia again drops on RSF World Press Freedom Index list

Having dropped seven places from last year, Serbia is currently ranked 98th on this year’s Reporters without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index.

Serbia’s deterioration has continued as last year it was ranked 91st and 79th in the 2022 Index.

This year’s report says that Serbia has changed categories, moving from the “problematic” (3rd category out of 5) to the “difficult” zone (4th category) for press freedom.

The growing nationalism in the region has had a negative impact on press freedom in the whole region. In Serbia, the ruling party and the pro-government outlets have stepped up the attacks on independent journalism, said RSF.

In the context of the tensions with Serbia, journalists in Kosovo have suffered numerous physical assaults and the government in Pristina has put undue pressure on both the private and public media.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Republic of Srpska has recriminalised defamation and is discussing a “foreign agents” law also targeting media, said the RSF.

Even in the two countries performing the best in the region, North Macedonia and Montenegro, press freedom was undermined in 2023 by political and judicial pressures on the media, said Reporters without Borders.

“Growing number of governments not guarantors of best environment for journalists”

A growing number of governments and political authorities are not fulfilling their role as guarantors of the best possible environment for journalism and for the public’s right to reliable, independent, and diverse news and information, said RSF.

This year’s World Press Freedom Index shows that political interests stifle journalism in several countries that are candidates for EU membership (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Turkey and Serbia). They continue to imprison journalists and undermine the media by means of online censorship and its control of the judiciary, it said.

RSF sees a worrying decline in support and respect for media autonomy and an increase in pressure from the state or other political actors. Press freedom around the world is being threatened by the very people who should be its guarantors – political authorities, the report stated.

“States and other political forces are playing a decreasing role in protecting press freedom. This disempowerment sometimes goes hand in hand with more hostile actions that undermine the role of journalists, or even instrumentalise the media through campaigns of harassment or disinformation. Journalism worthy of that name is, on the contrary, a necessary condition for any democratic system and the exercise of political freedoms,” said Anne Bocande, one of RSF’s directors.

(Cenzolovka, 05.05.2024)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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