Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has joined growing voices in condemnation of the Government’s recent actions against some mainstream media newspapers during the Covid-19 crisis.
The media freedom watchdog has called for cessation of hostility towards the press by Number 10 following its statement it would not be providing answers to questions posed by some ‘campaigning newspapers’ regarding political advisor Dominic Cummings’ lockdown visit to Durham.
The comments follow the Society of Editors’ decision to write to Number 10 expressing its concerns over the statement and its consequences.
“We are alarmed by the UK government’s dismissal of serious public interest reporting as ‘false’ and coming from ‘campaigning newspapers’. These Trumpian tactics are only serving to fuel hostility and public distrust in media. This worrying trend is certainly not in keeping with the government’s stated commitment to champion global media freedom – and must be immediately reversed before the UK’s press freedom climate is further eroded”, said RSF UK Bureau Director Rebecca Vincent.
In a statement, the RSF added: “Vindictive responses by governmental bodies to public interest reporting on stories related to the Covid-19 pandemic – including the latest slur of “campaigning newspapers” – and restrictions on journalists’ participation in government press briefings are fuelling a growing climate of hostility and public distrust in media in the UK. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for an immediate reversal of this worrying trend before the country’s press freedom climate is further eroded.”
The UK is ranked 35th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.
The RSF’s full statement can be found here