Trends in media freedom, pluralism, and independence
The financial crisis in the news industry has been compounded in the last decade by the erosion of press freedoms, which have declined measurably since 2012. According to UNESCO data, at least 160 countries still have criminal defamation laws on the books. These laws are finding new life through Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation and “libel tourism”, in which individuals take advantage of the legal system of a foreign country to more easily file a libel lawsuit against a journalist or a media company, for example. Additionally, at least 57 laws and regulations across 44 countries have been adopted or amended since 2016 in relation to online speech that contain overly vague language or disproportionate punishments that threaten freedom of expression and press freedom.