Watchdog names 37 ‘press freedom predators’

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released an expanded list of 37 heads of state or government deemed by the organization to be “press freedom predators,” including two women for the first time.

RSF’s 2021 list of “press freedom predators” includes leaders from Brazil, Cuba, Pakistan, Singapore, Russian and the Philippines. 

The prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, and Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam were the first women added to the group. 

Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, also made his first appearance on the RSF list. The press freedom watchdog cited his methods of “abduction, torture and other unthinkable acts” as reasons for including him, pointing to the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

RSF notes that 17 of the leaders, nearly half of the new list, were first-time entrants. More than a third of the leaders came from the Asia-Pacific region.

“There are now 37 leaders from around the world in RSF’s predators of press freedom gallery and no one could say this list is exhaustive,” RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said in a statement.

“Each of these predators has their own style. Some impose a reign of terror by issuing irrational and paranoid orders. Others adopt a carefully constructed strategy based on draconian laws,” Deloire added. “A major challenge now is for these predators to pay the highest possible price for their oppressive behaviour. We must not let their methods become the new normal.”

Tags Freedom of the press Government Jamal Khashoggi Journalism Mohammed bin Salman Reporters Without Borders

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