While Sean Spicer’s treatment of journalists he deems unfriendly to Donald Trump’s administration is often criticized and called undemocratic, it is a far cry from treatment journalists receive in these 11 countries without freedom of speech or press.
White House Press Secretary is regularly ridiculed in TV shows like Saturday Night Live. Melissa McCarthy’s impression is on par with Alec Baldwin’s representation of Spicer’s boss, President Trump. Both men have repeatedly shown disdain for the mainstream media, with Trump’s now famous quip “fake news”.
This state of affairs naturally leaves a lot to be desired and White House press conferences are often marked with clashes and disputes between journalists and Sean Spicer. Still, once a closer look is taken at the state of freedoms of speech and press worldwide, despite his best intentions, Spicer looks at best as a caricature, compared to many of the world’s far more sinister press oppressors.
Lack of freedom of speech and press is often associated with third-world dictatorships and poverty ridden nations and while we have plenty of those on the menu, there are also a few countries that are considered strong economically. Regardless of their economic status, they do have few things in common, like the rampant corruption and lack of transparency in government’s work. For the most part, these regimes don’t shy from censorship in any way they can achieve the media’s cooperation and intimidating journalists is usually their go to method of preventing them from reporting on their dealings. It doesn’t come as a surprise that there’s a huge overlap between this and the list of the Worst Countries for Journalists in 2015. Two years later, not much has changed. If anything, some of the countries have even increased their oppression of the media.
In order to create the list 11 countries without freedom of speech or press, we consulted the people who suffer the most: journalists. Our sources include Reporters without Borders and their annual World Press Freedom Index, as well as the Most Censored Countries list published by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). We combined them in order to create the most accurate listing.