Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has listed Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan among 2021 “Press freedom predators.”
RSF has published the list off 37 heads of state or government who crack down massively on press freedom. Some of these “predators of press freedom” have been operating for more than two decades while others have just joined the blacklist, which for the first time includes two women and a European predator.
Nearly half (17) of the predators are making their first appearance on the 2021 list, which RSF is publishing five years after the last one, from 2016. All are heads of state or government who trample on press freedom by creating a censorship apparatus, jailing journalists arbitrarily or inciting violence against them.
Nineteen of these predators rule countries that are colored red on the RSF’s press freedom map, meaning their situation is classified as “bad” for journalism, and 16 rule countries colored black, meaning the situation is “very bad.”
“There are now 37 leaders from around the world in RSF’s predators of press freedom gallery and no one could say this list is exhaustive,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “Each of these predators has their own style. Some impose a reign of terror by issuing irrational and paranoid orders. Others adopt a carefully constructed strategy based on draconian laws. 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.”
The new entrants include Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and a European prime minister, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán.