On the occasion of Press Freedom Day 2019, the executive director, Barbara Trionfi, of International Press Institute (IPI), in a press statement, informs the world about the deteriorating environment for press freedom. Today, press freedom across the world is challenged in radical and unimaginable ways. The journalists are killed in the line of duty. States gag the dissenting opinion by introducing laws under the garb of diverting and eliminating threats to its security and sovereignty.

In present times, it is not only terrorist groups that threaten press freedoms. The governments are also increasingly clamping down on press freedoms. Despite lofty constitutional guarantees in the constitution of virtually every other country, today, the concept, i.e., freedom of expression/press is fighting its battle of survival against both states as well as non-state actors.

The press statement that the IPI has released is not a good omen for the future of objective journalism and fair and impartial reporting. On the one hand, 55 journalists have been killed since last May; on the other hand, the states are also trying to create an environment where it has nearly become impossible for the press to play its watchdog role.

Virtually every other country’s ruling party or coalition in recent times have introduced laws that can put up journalists behind bars for expressing their opinion. The governments in Bangladesh, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey, India, and the United States (US) with introducing laws that aim at curtailing the freedoms of the press have changed the environment upside down.

Today, independent media is not only facing challenges in print and electronic media, but it is also witnessing a shrink of space on social media sites as the states are increasingly introducing laws under which any person can be held liable for expressing dissent. In these Orwellian times, the press freedom can only be won back if the masses are in the vanguard of the struggle that is much needed for the purpose.