Argentina down 26 in press freedom index after Milei election

President Milei is singled out as a ‘predator’ and a ‘disturbing new threat to the right to information’ by nonprofit Reporters Without Borders

Press freedom in Argentina has worsened significantly since Javier Milei took office, according to the 2024 World Press Freedom Index.

The country has slid from 40th last year to 66th in the 2024 ranking. The data was released by international freedom of information watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RWB) on Friday.

The organization singled out Milei in its overall report, stating: “2023 saw decisive elections, especially in Latin America, that were won by self-proclaimed predators of press freedom and media plurality, like Javier Milei in Argentina (down 26 to 66th), who shut down the country’s biggest news agency in a worrisome symbolic act.”

In its fact file on Argentina, the organization described Milei as “a president openly hostile to the media” who “poses a disturbing new threat to the right to information in the country.” 

It also highlighted “heavily concentrated and opaque media ownership, polarization, the lack of governmental policies guaranteeing media pluralism, and job instability for journalists” as significant threats to the press. These factors provide “fertile ground for government and corporate pressure through private and public advertising, and partisan use of national, regional, and municipal state-owned media,” the latest report noted.

In the new index, Argentina has slipped below neighbors Uruguay and Chile, which are ranked 51 and 52 respectively. It remains above Brazil (82), Bolivia (124) and Paraguay (115).

Ahead of Milei’s inauguration, Artur Romeu, RWB’s director for Latin America, described his election as “an alarm signal for journalism in Argentina.”

Across Latin America, the worst-ranked countries are Honduras (146), Venezuela (156), Nicaragua (163) and Cuba (168). Journalists in the region often face reprisals when they cover organized crime, corruption, and the environment, RWB noted. Just a fifth of countries in the Americas are now considered to have “satisfactory” levels of press freedom, down from 36% in 2023.

Worldwide, the organization stated that “a record number of violations against journalists” had been carried out in Gaza since October 2023. “More than 100 Palestinian reporters have been killed by the Israel Defence Forces, including at least 22 in the course of their work,” it wrote.

Other major threats to reporters include coups and electoral violence in several African countries, reprisals for political dissent in Vietnam and China, and censorship in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

RWB’s index is compiled by examining five key factors on press freedom: political context, legal framework, economic context, sociocultural context and safety. It tallies cases of abuse against media and journalists, and also surveys journalists, academics, and other press freedom specialists.

The index looks at 180 countries and territories worldwide. This year, the top country was Norway. At the bottom was Eritrea, followed by Syria. “The last two countries have become lawless zones for the media, with a record number of journalists detained, missing or held hostage,” RWB wrote.


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