Press freedom: new and old problem children
180 countries in comparison: Reporters Without Borders has published its 2021 Press Freedom Index. Due to the many attacks on those covering demonstrations against coronavirus measures, Germany has slipped down two spots to 13th place, and for the first time its press freedom is only rated as "satisfactory" instead of "good". Placed 112th, Bulgaria once again brings up the rear in the EU. Commentators from both countries examine the reasons.
Anti-lockdowners, police and politicians a threat
A whole series of players are responsible for developments in Germany, Deutschlandfunk explains:
“Most of the assaults counted took place at demonstrations of the 'Querdenken' group [which opposes Germany's coronavirus measures], where demonstrators supposedly stand up for basic rights. However, they couldn't care less about the right to press freedom. ... Too few police officers at demonstrations know what freedom of the press really is, what journalists are allowed to do. For example, of course they're allowed to take photos, film, do interviews and make sound recordings. But for all that they've been arrested by the police. ... Freedom of the press is [also] threatened by politicians who don't take these rights violations seriously, and even go along with them.”
Last place well deserved
In a Facebook post reprinted by Dnevnik, Bulgarian journalist Julian Popov lists the reasons for Bulgaria being 112th in the ranking:
“1. The media in Bulgaria are not a sustainable corrective. ... 2. The media are uncritical. ... 3. The reporters are unprepared. 4. The overwhelming majority of the media in Bulgaria cannot survive on journalistic content alone. ... 5. The media do not pay for content. ... 6. Facts are rarely checked. ... We must also recognise that there are some high-quality, critical, analytical and ultimately free media in Bulgaria. They fight for this freedom, but the fight is not easy.”