Africa: Press Freedom Advocacy Group Says Propaganda a Global Threat to Free Media

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Washington — Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also led to another casualty: freedom of the press in Russia, according to a new report by Reporters Without Borders.

The media advocacy group has ranked Russia near the bottom of its 2022 World Press Freedom index, which was issued Tuesday in conjunction with World Press Freedom Day. The annual index classifies a record 28 countries as “having very bad media freedom.”

The Reporters Without Borders, also known as RSF, says Moscow’s assault on a free press ramped up as Russian troops invaded Ukraine through such means as propaganda, laws aimed at discrediting credible media, website bans and arrests.

Russia is just one of several countries highlighted in the updated index whose governments have either curtailed or outright suppressed media freedoms. They include:

– Afghanistan, where the Taliban pledged to uphold press freedom after regaining power last year, but instead imposed restrictive laws and blocked female journalists from the airwaves, and where media outlets are facing financial hardship after bans on entertainment and advertising cut revenue;

– Hong Kong, where pro-democracy news sites have been shut down after a series of raids and arrests since Beijing approved a sweeping national security law in 2020 after massive anti-government protests the year before;

– Ethiopia, which has imposed communications blackouts and restricted access amid the war in the Tigray region;