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2024 World Press Freedom Index: see where Latin American countries stand in the ranking

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released its new analysis on media and speech freedom globally, highlighting how political authorities have failed to protect journalists and human rights.

Marina Vanni,  May 3, 2024

This Friday, May 3rd, marks Press Freedom Day, a date underscoring the importance of free access to reliable information and the brave work of journalists around the globe. On this date, NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published its updated World Press Freedom Index.

 The Americas face a difficult situation, says the organization: "the inability of journalists to cover subjects related to organised crime, corruption or the environment for fear of reprisals poses a major problem. The percentage of countries whose situation is classified as "satisfactory" has drastically dropped from 36% in 2023 to 21% in 2024." RSF now describes the scenario in South America as "problematic".

The country with the highest score in Latin America is Costa Rica, holding the 26th position in the global ranking, followed by the Dominican Republic (35th), Uruguay (51st), Chile (52nd), Argentina (66th), Brazil (82nd), Panama (83rd), and Haiti (93rd).

Among the regional countries in the Top 100, the NGO underlines a specially concerning situation in Argentina:

"While 2024 is the biggest election year in world history, 2023 also saw decisive elections, especially in Latin America, that were won by self-proclaimed predators of press freedom and media plurality, like Javier Milei in Argentina (down 26 to 66th), who shut down the country’s biggest news agency in a worrisome symbolic act," states the organization.

On the other hand, Brazil saw significant improvements in comparison to last year’s ranking.

RSF says of this case: "The new government led by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has restored normal relations between the media and state agencies after Jair Bolsonaro’s term as president, which was marked by constant hostility towards the media. But structural violence against journalists, highly concentrated media ownership, and the effects of disinformation still pose major challenges for press freedom."

Chile rose 31 positions in the ranking, but challenges remain: "While freedom of the press is guaranteed by Chile’s constitution and justice system, it is not always respected in practice. Investigative journalism is losing ground, and attacks against reporters are on the rise. Legal proceedings against media outlets and journalists have become a recurring strategy to silence them."

In Ecuador (110th position), "journalists work in a climate of growing insecurity, self-censorship and hostility, marked by the rise of criminal gangs and drug cartels, as well as an increase in assaults, threats, attacks and even murders," explains RSF.

Paraguay fell 12 spots on the ranking and now holds the 115th position.

RSF mentions Colombia (119th position) and Mexico (121th position) as some of the most dangerous countries in the world for media workers, with organized crime as one of the main threats. According to RSF, 37 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2019. The list continues with Bolivia (124th position), Peru (125th position), El Salvador (113rd position), and Guatemala (138th position).

Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras and Venezuela continue to score the lowest in the region: 168th, 163th, 156th and 146th on the list, respectively.

The Index was developed taking into account five indicators: political, economic, legislative, social and security. Globally, the political factor saw the most deterioration and optimism in scarce as more than half of the world’s population heads to the polls this year.

Author: Marina Vanni

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