According to the latest report on international press freedom, journalism is at a "tipping point" and the world has reached an "age of post-truth, propaganda, and suppression of freedoms."
The Press Freedom Report, published on Wednesday by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reveals a drastic deterioration in press freedom across the world and particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, over the past 12 months.
The report investigated freedom of media and journalists in 180 countries and found that "democracies, as well as dictatorships, had increasingly clamped down on press freedom."
In a statement RSF said that its global indicator has never been so high, adding that "the measure of the overall level of media freedom constraints and violations worldwide has risen 14% in the span of five years."
It also revealed that the Middle East and North Africa, "continue to be the world’s most difficult and dangerous region for journalists."
According to the report, Mauritania is still the freest country in the MENA region when it comes to the press, ranked at number 55, while Syria is the worst, ranked at 177. Lebanon stands at 99.
"The Middle East as a collective region beat Central Asia and Eastern Europe to become the world's worst region for press freedoms, with a median position of 145 out of 180," The New Arab reported.
Concern for press freedom across the world
While it comes as no surprise that countries with the worst press freedoms are mostly autocratic, RSF also highlighted worsening press freedom in democratic nations including the U.S. and the U.K.
The report focused on the media-bashing of U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain's Brexit referendum, warning that it was "highly toxic."
"The rate at which democracies are approaching the tipping point is alarming for all those who understand that, if media freedom is not secure, then none of the other freedoms can be guaranteed," RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire warned.
Published annually by RSF since 2002, the World Press Freedom Index measures the level of media freedom, taking into account pluralism, media independence, and respect for the safety and freedom of journalists.
The 2017 Index takes account of violations that took place between January 1st and December 31st of 2016.