An annual report on press freedom released by the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) shows Pakistan as still one of the most dangerous countries for journalists with a rank at 139th out of 180 countries.
Pakistan was also placed 139th on the press freedom index last year – a significant improvement than 2015 when the country was ranked 159th by the media watchdog.
But in a global context, the RSF said press freedom had never been as threatened as it is now, especially in the “new post-truth era of fake news” after the election of US President Donald Trump.
Media freedom is being undermined by the rise in surveillance and of authoritarian strongmen across the globe, the watchdog said.
The US and Britain both slipped two places in the index to 43rd and 40th, according to the Paris-based monitoring group, known by its French initials RSF.
“Nothing seems to be checking” the erosion of liberty of the press in leading democracies, it said.
“Media freedom has never been so threatened.”
Liberty of the press is in peril or in a “very serious situation” in 72 countries including Russia, India and China, it found.
“Attacks on the media have become commonplace and strongmen are on the rise. We have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda, and suppression of freedoms — especially in democracies,” the report said.
“Donald Trump’s rise to power… and the Brexit campaign were marked by high-profile media-bashing, a highly toxic anti-media discourse that drove the world into a new era of post-truth, disinformation and fake news,” it added.
Poland and Hungary came in for withering criticism in the report.
The nationalist government in Warsaw was accused of “turning public radio and TV stations into propaganda tools” and of trying to throttle independent newspapers.
The RSF index found that in the past year nearly two thirds of the countries had registered a deterioration in their situation, while the number of countries where the media freedom situation was “good” or “fairly good” fell by more than two percent.
China, war-torn Syria — the deadliest country for journalists — and Turkmenistan complete the bottom five.
Italy showed the biggest improvement, rising 25 places to 52nd place thanks to the acquittal of journalists tried in the Vatileaks II case, which exposed scandal at the top of the Catholic Church.