Focus on the digital challenge to journalism

World Press Freedom day
World Press Freedom day. Photo: Marvin Meyer/Unsplash

Norway, Denmark and Sweden top the World Press Freedom Index for 2022, while Finland is number five. The fifth Nordic country, Iceland, is ten seats below or at number 15.

Reporters without frontiers (RWF) publish the index annually on the occasion of World Press Freedom day, 3 May.

World Press Freedom day
World Press Freedom day. Photo: Kenny Eliason/Unsplash

The United Nations celebrate World Press Freedom day. Today, 4 May, UNESCO and the UN Department of Global Communications organise a live streamed event on the theme Journalism under digital siege with remarks by the UN Secretary-General and other senior officals as well as journalists.

“Digital technology has democratized access to information. But it has also created serious challenges,“ UN Secretary-General António Guterres says in his message on World Press Freedom day.

“The business models of many social media platforms are based not on increasing access to accurate reporting, but on increasing engagement – which often means provoking outrage and spreading lies.“

Not only threatened by bombs

World Press Freedom day
World Press Freedom day. Photo:Austin Distel/Unsplash

Guterres points out that media workers in war zones are threatened not only by bombs and bullets, but by the weapons of falsification and disinformation that accompany modern warfare. They may be attacked as the enemy, accused of espionage, detained, or killed, simply for doing their jobs.

“Digital technology also makes censorship even easier. Many journalists and editors around the world are at constant risk of their programmes and reports being taken offline.“

He specifically points out that women journalists are at particular risk of online harassment and violence.  UNESCO found that nearly three in four women respondents had experienced online violence.

“Without freedom of the press, there are no real democratic societies. Without freedom of the press, there is no freedom,“ Mr.Guterres says in his message.