And the number of countries where journalists can work safely is plummeting, its annual World Press Freedom Index revealed.
Political leaders’ hostility towards the media “has incited increasingly frequent acts of violence that have fuelled an unprecedented level of fear and danger for journalists,” the report added.
“If the political debate slides towards a civil war-style atmosphere, where journalists are treated as scapegoats, then democracy is in great danger,” RSF chief Christophe Deloire said.
Press freedom was in good health in less than quarter of the 180 countries covered by the index, with the United States sliding to 48th place.
The period since President Donald Trump’s election in 2016 has been one of the “American journalism community’s darkest moments”, the report added.
It linked the president’s “notorious anti-press rhetoric” with “terrifying harassment” aimed particularly at women and journalists of colour.
Murder and threats
“Never before have US journalists been subjected to so many death threats or