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Protection

Journalists, communicators, and human rights defenders around the world faced huge risks during 2018 as a result of their work. Governments and other powerful actors continue to attempt to silence criticism – from reporting to activism – often seeking to escape scrutiny and stifle dissent.

Too often, threats, surveillance, attacks, arbitrary arrest and detention, and – in the most grievous cases – enforced disappearance or killings are the price of reporting the truth and defending human rights. Attacks often occur with impunity, creating a cycle of intimidation and self-censorship that erodes freedom of expression and information.

Table 13: Protection scores for each region, 2008–18

  2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Africa 0.41 0.41 0.43 0.42 0.41 0.42 0.41 0.40 0.40 0.39 0.41
Americas 0.65 0.65 0.64 0.64 0.64 0.64 0.63 0.63 0.62 0.62 0.60
APAa 0.51 0.52 0.52 0.53 0.51 0.50 0.49 0.50 0.48 0.48 0.49
ECAb 0.74 0.74 0.74 0.74 0.74 0.72 0.71 0.71 0.70 0.70 0.69
MENAc 0.25 0.26 0.26 0.29 0.31 0.30 0.29 0.29 0.29 0.28 0.29
Average Country Score 0.54 0.54 0.55 0.55 0.55 0.54 0.53 0.53 0.52 0.52 0.52
Notes: a = Asia and the Pacific; b = Europe and Central Asia; c = Middle East and North Africa.

 

Figure 6: 

Note: Figure 6 details average regional scores

 

Table 14: Top and bottom five scores for Protection, 2008

Position Country Score
1 Denmark 0.97
2 Estonia 0.96
3 Switzerland 0.96
4 Norway 0.96
5 Lithuania 0.95
Average 0.52
157 Burundi 0.03
158 Syria 0.03
159 Eritrea 0.01
160 Bahrain 0.01
161 North Korea 0.00

While Protection scores have remains fairly stable in most regions, the Americas have seen a more significant drop in score, which has accelerated over the last year, corresponding with the crisis of violence against journalists and activists in some of the region, most notably Mexico and Colombia .

Threats to the safety of journalists and other communicators and human rights defenders are rising, as did murders and imprisonment in 2018. Judicial harassment, or ‘lawfare’ – the aforementioned use of civil and criminal cases to distract or impede journalistic or activist work – is also on the rise.

Hostility and combative rhetoric around journalism, blogging, and activism continue to threaten safety and security – from accusations of lying to links to terrorism or armed groups, those in power continue to demonise communicators and actors.

Women journalists face specific challenges, including gender-specific attacks, online and offline harassment, and general discrimination against women in society, which creates barriers to working and succeeding as a journalist or activist.

While Protection scores have remains fairly stable in most regions, the Americas have seen a more significant drop in score, which has accelerated over the last year, corresponding with the crisis of violence against journalists and activists in some of the region, most notably Mexico (p.x) and Colombia (p.x).

Threats to the safety of journalists and other communicators and human rights defenders are rising, as did murders and imprisonment in 2018. Judicial harassment, or ‘lawfare’ – the aforementioned use of civil and criminal cases to distract or impede journalistic or activist work – is also on the rise.

Hostility and combative rhetoric around journalism, blogging, and activism continue to threaten safety and security – from accusations of lying to links to terrorism or armed groups, those in power continue to demonise communicators and actors.

Women journalists face specific challenges, including gender-specific attacks, online and offline harassment, and general discrimination against women in society, which creates barriers to working and succeeding as a journalist or activist.

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