Press freedom under attack

Ján Kuciak was murdered in Slovakia and fellow journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. In Turkey many journalists are in prison, in Hungary critical media are being bullied and not only Trump but also politicians in European countries are stirring up anger against the media. Commentators concur that 2018 was not a good year for press freedom.

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El País (ES) /

A cornerstone of demcracy is faltering

The year drawing to an end now was a grim year for press freedom, writes El País:

“Totalitarian regimes, drug trafficking, corruption and extremely repressive heads of government in open confrontation with independent journalism, which has been particularly hard hit this year. In 2018 more journalists were killed, imprisoned or kidnapped than in the preceding years. The violations of press freedom increased. ... We should not forget that independent journalism is a cornerstone of the rule of law. Those who call the principles of freedom of information into question weaken democracy itself.”

Krytyka Polityczna (PL) /

Journalists living ever more dangerously

Alexandra Borchardt of the Reuters Journalism Institute takes a similar view in Krytyka Polityczna:

“When the US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered, all eyes were on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is still suspected of having ordered the murder. The case shows the risks working in informative journalism involves. A look at the statistics for 2018 shows that these were twelve of the most dangerous months in the history of the profession. ... Users should learn what journalism is about, how journalists go about their work, and why professional media are an integral component of a healthy democracy.”

Népszava (HU) /

Keep working as long as we can

Journalist Judith N. Kósa recalls in Népszava how the smile on her lips froze after Orbán's election victory last April:

“Really, after the last eight years who would have thought that the government could once again obtain a two-thirds majority? ... The closing of the daily Magyar Nemzet turned my stomach. That's where I learned to write almost thirty years ago. When I close my eyes I can still see the run-down editorial offices and smell the cigarette smoke. ... That said, after Népszabadság was shut down two years ago nothing should surprise me any more. We must keep working as long as we can. Because our paper still exists: they haven't taken it away from us yet.”