American citizens are not alone in realising that press freedom is under attack. Russians, Poles, Hungarians, Brazilians and Filipinos – to name just a few – are also deeply concerned.
They can all learn from PEN America which has put forward An Agenda for the Biden-Harris Administration called “Free Expression and the First 100 Days” (19 January 2021). In a plea to defend and promote press freedom in the U.S., PEN calls for affirmative steps to undo the damage to Americans’ attitudes toward the press and to shore up press freedom and respect for the role of professional media in the U.S.
The World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), suggests that the coming decade will be decisive for the future of journalism.
The 2020 edition of the Index, which evaluates the situation for journalists in 180 countries and territories, identifies five converging crises: geopolitical (due to the aggressiveness of authoritarian regimes); technological (due to a lack of democratic guarantees); democratic (due to polarisation and repressive policies); trust (due to aggravated suspicion of the media); and economic (impoverishing quality journalism). These are currently compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.