Mexico boasts another first-place ribbon: Most missing journalists in the world

Puerto Vallarta (Subscriber Content) – On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) annually releases the World Press Freedom Classification report, which examines journalism conditions in 180 countries and territories. In the 2023 edition, 31 countries are deemed to have a “very serious” situation, 42 face “difficult” conditions, and 55 experience “problematic” circumstances. Conversely, only 52 countries enjoy “good” or “fairly good” conditions for journalism. This means that 7 out of 10 countries have unfavorable conditions for practicing journalism, while only 3 out of 10 offer satisfactory environments.

The report ranks Costa Rica as the Latin American country with the most press freedom, placing 23rd, followed by Argentina at 40th and the Dominican Republic at 43rd. Conversely, Cuba ranks 171st, Honduras 179th, and Venezuela 159th.

Mexico sits at 128th and has the highest number of missing journalists globally, with 28 disappearances in 20 years. No country in the region is classified as having a “good” situation.

Globally, Norway retains its first-place position for the seventh consecutive year as the country with the most press freedom, followed by Ireland and Denmark. In contrast, North Korea ranks last (180th), with China (179th) and Vietnam (178th) being the other two worst countries for freedom of expression.

RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire comments on the volatility of the World Press Freedom Index, citing increased aggression towards power in numerous countries and rising animosity towards journalists both online and offline.

The report also draws attention to the growth of the “deception industry,” which creates and disseminates disinformation while supplying the tools to produce it. This industry enables the production, distribution, and amplification of disinformation, often with the involvement of political actors from various countries in propaganda campaigns.

Another challenge for the press is the rise of artificial intelligence (AI)-generated false content. The report cites Midjourney’s fifth version as an example, which is an AI program that produces high-definition images, flooding social networks with increasingly convincing and undetectable fakes. RSF points to examples of fabricated images, such as the viral ones depicting Donald Trump’s arrest.

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