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Reporters Without Borders: United States a 'problematic' place for journalists

By
Daniel Uria
The Capital Gazette building in Annapolis, Maryland, USA, 28 June 2018. Reporters Without Borders downgraded the United States to a problematic place for journalists after five journalists were killed in a targeted attack at the newspaper in 2018 and dozens of attacks on journalists in the past two years. File Photo by Jay Fleming/EPA
The Capital Gazette building in Annapolis, Maryland, USA, 28 June 2018. Reporters Without Borders downgraded the United States to a problematic place for journalists after five journalists were killed in a targeted attack at the newspaper in 2018 and dozens of attacks on journalists in the past two years. File Photo by Jay Fleming/EPA

April 18 (UPI) -- The United States was downgraded to a "problematic" place for journalists to live, according to the 2019 World Press Freedom Index.

Reporters Without Borders dropped the United States to No. 48 on its annual list of 180 countries and territories that evaluates the state of journalism and hostility against members of the media.

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The United States fell three spots, sliding from the "satisfactory" range into the "problematic" range.

"Never before have U.S. journalists been subjected to so may death threats or turned so often to private security firms for protection," the report stated.

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The report cited the shooting at the Capital Gazette in Maryland last June, in which a gunman shot and killed five people in a targeted attack on the newspaper.

So far 10 journalists have faced physical attacks in 2019 and 46 journalists faced physical attacks in 2017, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

The report also stated President Donald Trump's comments have played a role in the increasingly hostile climate for journalists.

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Overall, only 24 percent of the 180 countries and territories in the report are classified as "good" or "fairly good" as opposed to 26 percent in 2018.

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The report states that threats, insults and attacks have become part of the "occupational hazards" of working as a journalist in many countries.

Norway topped the list as the safest place for journalists in 2019 for the third consecutive year, followed by Finland, which rose two places as the Netherlands dropped from second to fourth place after two reporters covering organized crime were forced to live under permanent police protection.

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