“The COVID crisis is a new excuse to reduce rule of law, democracy, and press freedom. In Europe unfortunately there are states which restricted press freedoms because of the pandemic, they are especially: Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria,” Pavol Szalai from the Reporters Without Borders said.
A free press is a core element of any functioning democracy. Yet the situation has worsened on all continents, as can be seen in the 2021 Reporters Without Borders ranking of press freedom. The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a justification to further crackdown on journalistic independence.
“It’s actually the question of life and death. There is no better proof of how quality journalism and trustworthy information are than this current coronavirus crisis. We see a lot of disinformation about viruses or vaccines, so we really need press freedom,” Pavol Szalai stressed.
He added that journalism is the best vaccine against disinformation but three-quarters of the world’s population has suffered from restricted press freedom during the Covid-19 pandemic.