Belize drops to 53rd in 2021 World Press Freedom Index
Belize fell to 53rd in Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) 2021 World Press Freedom Index. This put Belize in the red zone in dubious company with countries like Chile, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The 2021 Reporters Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index shows a general decline in Latin America. With few exceptions, the coronavirus crisis has exacerbated an already complex and hostile environment for journalists.
The pandemic has fueled censorship in Latin America, and journalists have run into big trouble over how governments in the region have handled the public health crisis. These constraints have resulted in a spectacular worsening of the indicator measuring the difficulty of access by journalists to information held by the State. Latin America also recorded the largest deterioration in its overall score of press freedom violations (+2.5%).
Obstacles to the Right to Know in Belize
“Coverage of political developments and criminal cases in Belize is controversial as the media is extremely polarized. This often results in lengthy and costly legal proceedings for the media. Cases of threats, intimidation and harassment of journalists are sometimes reported. Due to inadequate infrastructure, internet access is among the slowest and most expensive in the Caribbean,” says RSF’s report on Belize.
The report was prepared ahead of new developments in Belize where the new PUP government has been accused of sponsoring attack advertisements against trade unions, independent journalists and digital media in the current wave of anti-corruption protests that are rising. take place in this Central American country. Immediately after taking office, the new government sought to downplay COVID19 pandemic rates by removing the Director of Health Services and obscuring previously detailed COVID19 statistics, district by district and city.