In several EU states, there are systematic attempts to intimidate journalists with hostilities on the rise in the US.
Reporters Without Borders (RBW) has warned of increasing restrictions on journalists working in Europe and the US.
Despite the fact that Europe continues to be one of the best places for press freedom, the work of investigative reporters “is being obstructed more and more,” the organisation said.
"The systematic smear campaign against journalists has led media professionals to work increasingly in a climate of fear," the organisation wrote in its 2019 press freedom ranking report.
“What with murders, attempted murders, and physical and verbal attacks, Europe’s journalists are subjected to many forms of pressure and intimidation and increasingly to judicial harassment as well,” it added.
Right-wing attacks on local media and journalists
RWB said media workers were assaulted or even murdered last year, and “authorities lack the will to solve such crimes.” Violence had occurred particularly on the margins of right-wing populist events and rallies.
In Austria, anti-media rhetoric and threats against media professionals have increased sharply since right-wing populist party FPO became involved in the government. Journalists who reported critically on the government were often branded as "left-wing extremists" who wanted to destabilise the country.
In France, media representatives were attacked several times during the coverage of the Yellow Vest protests, with a number of TV crews only daring to go to the demonstrations accompanied by security personnel. The left-wing politician and former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon called media professionals "idiots" and "liars and cheats".
“Enemies of the People” in the US
In the US, President Donald Trump has consistently attacked the media, frequently calling them the "enemies of the people" and branding their work ‘fake news’.
The atmosphere he has contributed towards creating has led to death threats.
In December 2018, the offices of CNN in New York were evacuated when it received a phone-in death threat.
Just a few months earlier in October, a Trump supporter was arrested for sending explosive devices to the offices of Democrat politicians and media outlets, who he thought were opposed to Trump.