The journalism industry has undergone many changes in the last decade which affect both journalists themselves as well as their readers. The popularity of digital media has greatly altered the ways in which consumers get their news, and increasingly polarized political climates have led to widespread distrust of many news sources. Moreover, journalists continue to face serious risks in connection with their work, and the number of journalists imprisoned more than doubled between 2010 and 2021. Sadly, imprisonment is just one of many challenges journalists around the world must reckon with.
The consequences of poor press freedom range from severe punitive measures against journalists in authoritarian states to media consolidation in democracies, and press freedom has been declining in major economies around the world over the last ten years. The press freedom index score in the United States has not surpassed 80 since 2013, and fell to a new low of just over 71 in 2022. The situation is significantly worse in many European and Latin American countries, and press freedom across the Asia Pacific region also remains extremely low, with Vietnam, China, Myanmar, and North Korea scoring under 30 in 2023. Not only does poor press freedom make journalists’ jobs significantly harder in terms of how and what they write, but reporting on certain topics, figures, or government policies can even place their lives in danger.
Journalists will continue to face threats in many countries across the globe as press freedom worsens. When it comes to the consumer perspective, global trust in journalists is poor. It perhaps then comes as no surprise that consumers support tech and internet companies working with the news industry to improve the quality of journalism, which presents fresh challenges. Whilst this measure could positively influence the quality of information in the press, there is also the risk is that it could lead to major companies increasing their hold over the news media, thus placing independent journalism and their associated news outlets under threat.
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