Did you know that China and Vietnam hold the world's largest prisons for journalists and bloggers?
I came across The 2017 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders and found the study fascinating. It shows you how different countries and regions are in terms of how the media functions by measuring the level of pluralism, media independence, and respect for the safety and freedom of journalists. I think when you live somewhere you just assume that things are the same in every other country which is clearly not the case.
If you work in a global organisation, you need to be aware of cultural differences because they determine how to communicate and make decisions. And when you work in PR or communications for global clients and run global campaigns, then understanding how the media works in the countries around the world is crucial.
The study doesn't have a particularly positive view of the world, explaining how attacks on the media have become commonplace and strongmen are on the rise where we have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda, and suppression of freedoms – especially in democracies. Some facts are frankly shocking.
Let's take a look.
How Countries are Ranking on Press Freedom
(Click on the image for a larger view.)
Within a quick glance, you'll notice that there's a lot of red and black on this image, meaning a lot of bad.
According to the study, media freedom has been falling over the past few years, especially in democracies, including the United States and the United Kingdom (you're probably thinking the same that I am, namely the latest political situation in these two countries).
But in other places too, the media seems to fall under governmental pressure, threats or financing. The study specifically mentions Poland and Turkey that have swung over an authoritarian regime lately.
The world’s regions (in descending order of respect for media freedom)
Especially severe seems to be the situation in North Korea which is at the bottom of the index where even listening to a foreign radio broadcast can lead to a spell in a concentration camp.
China and Vietnam, on the other hand, hold the world's biggest prisons for journalists and bloggers.
In Africa, the Internet is now routinely disconnected at election time and during major protests.
If we look at Europe, the study mentions Italy as an example of one of the European countries where the most journalists are threatened by organised crime.
Overall, the level of media freedom constraints and violations worldwide have risen 14% in the span of five years and the index has never been so high before.
It's pretty shocking to hear examples and violations against other humans to such an extent.
I honestly did not know how severe the situation was in many of those countries mentioned. Did you?