Press freedom is constantly under threat.

Press freedom is constantly under threat. RSF (Reporters Sans Frontières/Reporters without Borders) provides an annual ranking by country, recently censored by the Russian authorities on the eve of its publication. The indicator is indisputable: Russia is in 164th place out of 180, with 26 journalists detained to date, according to RSF.

The results of the RSF survey are alarming with only eight countries, mainly in Northern Europe, having a satisfactory press freedom index. This finding is even more worrying given that in seven out of ten countries, the situation is problematic or even very serious. Yet respect for freedom of information is a worldwide commitment under Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. According to The Economist's Democracy Index, press freedom is closely linked to the exercise of democracy.

Democracies that promote the rule of law and have checks and balances are those that guarantee freedom of information. This freedom is diminishing and should give us cause for alarm. In Europe too, freedom is not guaranteed. Public opinion has been shaken by the murder of three journalists investigating corruption in Malta, Slovakia and the Netherlands respectively. In countries such as Hungary, Turkey, Azerbaijan and too many others, media freedom is violated in order to intimidate or silence critical voices. The Council of Europe has condemned Turkey's new law on ‘disinformation’, which exposes journalists to judicial pressure and discredits their work.

Disinformation, the spread of hatred on social networks and the misuse of AI pose a major threat to the right to information. According to the French weekly. Télérama,  false information on X (formerly Twitter) spreads six times faster than verified information.

In spite of everything, we should not despair. Freedoms can be restored. The new Polish Government which came to power after last year’s elections is committed to re-establishing a fully independent public broadcasting service. Freedom of the press is a fundamental right that must be defended.