UK slipping on World Press Freedom Index comes as 'no surprise' thanks to dangers faced by journalists in Northern Ireland

Journalists Barry McCaffrey and Trevor Birney

UK has slipped to 35th place on Reporters Without Borders list because of violence and intimidation faced by journalists in Northern Ireland

‘Press freedom is the cornerstone of a rights respecting society and we must all act together to guard it closely’ - Patrick Corrigan

Responding to the news that the UK has again slipped down the World Press Freedom Index, in large part due to threats to reporters in Northern Ireland, Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:

“Sadly, this news comes as no surprise. The tragic death of Lyra McKee at the hands of republican paramilitaries 12 months ago is a reminder of the risks that reporters face in Northern Ireland.

“Northern Ireland continues to be the most dangerous part of the UK to be a journalist, threatening press freedom daily. In the year since Lyra’s death, reporters have continued to receive threats of violence and death on a regular basis and two reporters have had to defend their freedom in court after groundless arrests by the police.

“We continue to stand with journalists who are still under threat and those who work to expose uncomfortable truths, whether for the state or unlawful organisations. We recall too the 2001 killing by loyalist paramilitaries of Sunday World reporter Martin O’Hagan, for which no-one has ever been held to account.

“Press freedom is the cornerstone of a rights respecting society and we must all act together to guard it closely.”

The annual press freedom list, produced by the Reporters Without Borders, surveys the state of the media in 180 countries and territories around the world. The UK has slipped two places to number 35, now considered more dangerous than countries including Costa Rica, Jamaica and South Africa. The top spots went to Norway, Finland and Denmark respectively.

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