Despite improved rankings in Southeast Europe the 2023 RSF Index shows media in dire situation

The report ranks Albania in 96th place in 2023 but the RSF states that “editorial independence in Albania is threatened by partisan regulations

Rafaela Prifti

On The World Press Freedom Day, Washington Post in partnership with Reporters without Borders held a live special event with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and top journalists about the state of global freedom of press. The speakers strongly emphasized that “to stand for Press Freedom means standing for journalists.” Media watchdog – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) warned that journalists across the globe are coming under unprecedented attacks from governments.

In its annual report, released earlier today, the RSF said authorities were becoming more aggressive and emboldened towards reporters. Clayton Weimers of the RSF US Bureau in Washington DC cited the remarks of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the eve of World Press Freedom Day to underscore that “all our freedom depends on press freedom”.

Index is an annual assessment from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) about the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories. Dielli attended the live event and submitted questions in writing with respect to the state of the press freedom in Albania.  

The report ranks Albania in 96th place in 2023 that is up from 103rd place in 2022, but the RSF states that “editorial independence in Albania is threatened by partisan regulations, and journalists are victims of organized crime and, at times, of police violence, worsened by the government’s failure to protect them.” Kosova is ranked in 56th place, North Macedonia 38th.

The event highlighted that 2022 was a difficult year for journalism. According to the RSF, 55 journalists and four media workers were killed at work in 2022. The year 2023 is especially “volatile’ said Weimers, Chief of RSF, US Bureau due to the increased aggressiveness by authorities towards journalist and disinformation. Digital platforms and social media have made it easier for extremists and bad actors to push false narratives and harass journalists. “The emerging technologies such as AI are used by state propaganda to dilute the truth and muddle the water,” said Weimers. Ultimately their purpose it to sow distrust in the media.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken weighed in on the vital importance of democracy as the bedrock of the press freedom. To shore up support for the journalists and to protect their invaluable work, Secretary Blinken said that the administration has dedicated more funding and programs such as Media Freedom Coalition, Media Freedom Fund.   

According to the 2023 World Press Freedom Index, the United States ranks 45th out of 180 countries and territories. The top five places are Norway, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland.