The deadly cost of media freedom


A visitor to an exhibition in Washington, United States documenting the Reporter Without Borders index of media freedom around the world on May 5, 2015.

WASHINGTON - Today marks World Press Freedom Day, an opportunity to focus on the right to liberty of expression.

2014 was a particularly tough year for reporters, who suffered high profile murders, beheadings and jailings worldwide.

Press freedom groups say the situation has grown more difficult not only for journalists in war zones and repressive regimes, but also in democracies including America and South Africa.

Amnesty International says it&39;s concerned that media freedom in Africa is falling behind.

The rights group says Egyptian authorities are using courts to suppress journalism.

At least 18 reporters and media workers have been arrested, while dozens others are facing criminal investigations.

Southern Africa was praised for having more media freedoms, but Amnesty says it&39;s concerned that journalists are being targeted in South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe for exposing corruption.

Reporters without Borders says increased threats of violence against journalists are making it harder to report.

"The biggest threat to media freedom today would be ... not only the rise in the actual terror and violent threats but the use of those threats to muscle any kind of free expression in the country," says Clea Kahn-Sriber of Reporters Without Borders.

"We’ve seen it in Ethiopia and Cameroon but also in other countries; also in France where anti-terrorism law has dire consequences for journalist ability to do their work freely."

* Watch a full report in the gallery above, by eNCA&39;s foreign correspondent, Lorna Shaddick, in Washington.

For detailed reports and interviews, watch the videos in the gallery above.

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