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Data: Reporters Without Borders; Chart: Axios Visuals

Journalism is seriously restricted in 132 of 180 countries included in Reporters without Borders' annual Press Freedom Index — a particularly dangerous state of affairs during the pandemic.

Breaking it down: Nordic countries are ranked high on the list for having "good" press freedoms, while China, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea are at the bottom. The U.S. is ranked 44th.

The trends:

  • Brazil has fallen into the second lowest category amid a campaign of "orchestrated public humiliation of journalists" by allies of President Jair Bolsonaro. Malaysia fell even further due to a new “anti-fake news” decree.
  • Burundi, Sierra Leone and Mali saw some of the largest improvements.
  • The worst region for press freedom remains the Middle East and North Africa.

View the full report

Go deeper

"CONVICTED": Front pages around the world capture Derek Chauvin guilty verdict

Newspapers around the country and world led their front pages on Wednesday morning with news of the conviction of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.

Why it matters: It underscores the global nature of the movement that Floyd's tragic killing last year inspired, with newspapers in Mexico, Jamaica and the United Kingdom among those that covered the high-stakes proceedings at a Minneapolis courthouse.

Apr 21, 2021 - World

South Korean president: Trump "beat around the bush and failed" on North Korea

South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaking in Seoul in March 2021. Photo: Jeon Heon-Kyun/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

South Korean President Moon Jae-in criticized former President Trump's attempts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, telling the New York Times he "beat around the bush" with North Korea and "failed to pull it through."

Why it matters: Moon, now in his final year in office, called denuclearization a "matter of survival" for South Korea and urged President Biden to resume negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after a standstill of nearly two years.

Exclusive: Houston mayor to lead Black mayors group

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks during a private funeral for George Floyd. Photo: Godofredo A. Vásquez/Pool/Getty Images

The mayor of the city where George Floyd was raised is taking over a group that represents 500 Black mayors in the U.S. amid national pressure to revamp police departments.

Why it matters: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will become the new president of the African American Mayors Association as municipalities across the country examine police reforms and deal with the economic fallout from the pandemic.