Journalists faced an increasingly grim working environment in 2008, with global press freedom declining for a seventh straight year and deterioration occurring for the first time in every region, according to Freedom House's annual media study. The rollback was not confined to traditionally authoritarian states; with Israel, Italy and Hong Kong slipping from the study's Free category to Partly Free status.
"The journalism profession today is up against the ropes and fighting to stay alive, as pressures from governments, other powerful actors and the global economic crisis take an enormous toll," said Jennifer Windsor, Freedom House executive director. "The press is democracy's first defense and its vulnerability has enormous implications for democracy if journalists are not able to carry out their traditional watchdog role." Read more.