Modi's troll army brings down India's rank in World Press Freedom Index

JUST IN: NGO Reporters Without Borders upgrades Hong Kong's press freedom rating, citing 'organised resistance'

"More and more democratically elected leaders no longer see the media as part of democracy's essential underpinning, but as an adversary to which they openly display their aversion", the report said, picking out Trump, India's Narendra Modi and Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte for particular criticism.

"A state of emergency has allowed authorities to eliminate dozens of media outlets with the stroke of a pen, reducing pluralism to a handful of low-circulated and targeted publications".

RSF reported that media freedom thrives in New Zealand, with the country jumping five places on the Index from #13 in 2017 to #8 this year.

Vietnam and China stand at the 175th and 176th positions respectively, followed by Syria, Turkmenistan, Eritrea, and North Korea retaining the last place in the rating.

As usual, Scandinavian countries topped the list, with Norway ranking first as one of the world's countries that mostly enjoy press freedom for two years in a raw. "Coverage of regions that the authorities regard as sensitive, such as Kashmir, continues to be very hard".

Media in Kosovo suffer from direct and indirect political interference, financial pressure, and excessively concentrated ownership, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Wednesday.

The organisation stressed that hate speeches and attacks on the press are no longer issued by the oppressive countries only.

"A continued heavy-handed approach towards the press (often in the name of national security) has resulted in the United Kingdom keeping its status as one of the worst-ranked Western European countries", it said.

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"A few days after his coalition government was confirmed in September 2017, Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj described journalists as illiterate and advised them to go back to school", RSF said.

According to the organisation's map of the world, which is based on its classification of countries in the field of press freedom, 21 countries are "very critical".

Among them: Gambia, where a new president has promised a less restrictive press law and the inclusion of freedom of expression in the country's constitution, jumped 21 places, Africa's biggest leap forward, according to Reporters Without Borders.

The rankings cite an overall decline in global press freedom, with a "climate of hatred" for the press that is "openly encouraged by political leaders".

"Xi Jinping's China is getting closer and closer to a contemporary version of totalitarianism", the report read.

It said Independent News and Media (INM) controls much of the daily and Sunday newspaper market, while broadcasting is dominated by RTÉ.

While, West Asian countries' struggle with war-reporting continues. However, North Asia's democracies are struggling to defend their models against an all-powerful China which has been a known silencer of dissenting voices.

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