World leaders are paranoid about journalism and they are cracking down on the freedom of press because of that paranoia.
“There has been a deep and disturbing decline in respect for media freedom throughout the world,” free press advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said in a report released on Tuesday.
The group’s World Press Freedom Index ranked Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea as the least free countries for journalists.
In northern Europe — Finland, Netherlands, and Norway topped the ranking of 180 countries.
Tajikistan dropped 34 spots from last year’s list to rank 150th as the country has continued to take a more authoritarian stance.
Brunei also fell 34 slots after bringing new interpretations to Sharia law which has so far resulted in threats of blasphemy charges and self-censorship.
The United States even managed to fall to 41st on the list, eight spots lower than in 2015.
Europe offered the overall best overall freedoms for journalists. North Africa and the Middle East ranked last.
“It is unfortunately clear that many of the world’s leaders are developing a form of paranoia about legitimate journalism,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said in a statement.
“The climate of fear results in a growing aversion to debate and pluralism and a clampdown on the media by ever more authoritarian and oppressive governments,” he added.