Press freedom is declining around the world, with democratic governments joining authoritarian regimes in seeking to suppress independent journalism, a human rights watchdog said Wednesday.
An annual report by Freedom House said press freedom saw notable declines in Europe while US President Donald Trump's criticism of the press has "seriously worsened an ongoing erosion of public confidence in the mainstream media."
The impact of Trump's effort has been to undermine free press because journalists around the world now have less reason to believe that Washington will come to their aid if their rights are violated," Freedom House said.
"In some of the most influential democracies in the world, populist leaders have overseen a concerted attempt to throttle the independence of the media," said Sarah Repucci, senior director for research at the human rights group.
"While threats to global media freedom are concerning in their own right, their effect on the state of democracy is what makes them truly dangerous."
Modest gains in press freedom were seen in countries where democracy is strengthening including Ethiopia, Malaysia, Ecuador and Gambia, the report said.