Watchdog names 37 ‘press freedom predators’
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has published an expanded list of 37 heads of state or government considered by the organization to be “predators of press freedom”, including two women for the first time.
RSF’s 2021 list of “predators of press freedom” includes leaders from Brazil, Cuba, Pakistan, Singapore, Russia and the Philippines.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam were the first women to join 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 “kidnapping, 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, or almost half of the new list, were new 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 press freedom predators gallery and no one can say that this list is exhaustive,” RSF secretary general Christophe Deloire said in a statement.
“Each of these predators has their own style. Some create a reign of terror by issuing irrational and paranoid orders. Others adopt a carefully constructed strategy based on draconian laws,” added Deloire. “A major challenge now is for these predators to pay the highest possible price for their oppressive behavior. We must not let their methods become the new normal.
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