The latest press freedom index published Tuesday by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) no longer includes Germany among the main nations.
Of the 180 countries assessed, Germany came 13th, down two places compared to the 2020 ranking.
“Due to numerous attacks during protests against measures to contain the pandemic, we had to reduce Germany’s rating for press freedom from ‘good’ to only ‘satisfactory’, which is clearly a signal alarm, ”said RSF board spokesperson Michael Rediske.
He said violence against media workers in Germany had reached unprecedented levels.
“There were at least 65 acts of violence against journalists in 2020, a five-fold increase from 2019,” he said.
RSF said it also believed there were more unreported cases in 2020 than in the past.
Most of the physical and verbal attacks took place during or alongside protests, and in particular protests against government coronavirus restrictions.
“Journalists have been punched, kicked and pushed to the ground, spat on and harassed, insulted, threatened and prevented from doing their job,” RSF said.
Only 12 countries scored well in terms of press freedom, the lowest number since the start of the assessment.
There was little change among those ranked at the bottom of the scale, which included China, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea.
RSF also criticized many governments and leaders spreading disinformation about the pandemic, including former US President Donald Trump, Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro and Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro.
Norway, Finland and Sweden topped the list.
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