Press Club leaders express alarm at backslide in domestic press freedoms amid new report

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Following is a statement from Emily Wilkins, president of the National Press Club, and Gil Klein, president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, on the new ranking of the United States in the 2024 World Press Freedom Index. 

The report, released today by Reporters Without Borders, ranks the U.S. 55th among nations on press freedoms. That’s a drop of 10 places from its 2023 ranking.

“We are deeply alarmed by the weakening of the press freedoms in the United States. The downgrading of the U.S. to 55th among nations in the 2024 World Press Freedom Index is a sad marker of the deteriorating conditions for journalists and news organizations in the U.S. as we enter a critical election season.

“The U.S. should be a beacon for press freedom around the world. Instead, we have recently seen journalists in the U.S. arrested and prosecuted simply for doing their jobs across the country, and witnessed growing distrust fueled by the irresponsible rhetoric of some political officials. The falling ranking of the U.S. in the World Press Freedom Index shows that we are headed in the wrong direction.

“The freedom of the press is among our core democratic values. When we fail to live up our core values, it weakens the fabric of our society and diminishes our standing on the world stage.”

The United States can and must do everything it can to regain its standing as a model for press freedom worldwide. We call on Congress to pass and President Joe Biden to sign the bipartisan PRESS Act, which would prevent the federal government from compelling journalists to reveal their sources and confidential work product. We call for state governments to pass similar shield laws. And we demand an end, in all corners of the country, to the arrest and prosecution of journalists who are simply trying to do their jobs. Journalism is not a crime.”

Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. The Club has 3,000 members representing nearly every major news organization and is a leading voice for press freedom in the U.S. and worldwide.

The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged, global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with the skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire a more representative democracy. The NPCJI is the nonprofit affiliate of the National Press Club.

Contact: Bill McCarren, press freedom consultant for the National Press Club, [email protected], (202) 662-7534

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SOURCE National Press Club

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