Journalists cover a statement from prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen. Photo: Nikolai Linares/Scanpix
Reporters without Borders said that Denmark had been “overshadowed” by Wall’s grisly murder in the 2018 press rankings, published on Wednesday, the same day as Peter Madsen was found guilty of murdering her.
Her death, and those of two other journalists, showed that the “traditionally safe environment for journalists in Europe has begun to deteriorate”, the campaign group said in its report.
Denmark fell from fourth place last year to ninth in the 2018 ranking, after the murder gave it a sky-high “violence and abuse” score of 45, putting it on a level with countries like The Maldives, Myanmar, South Sudan and Turkmenistan.
“The past year, 2017, was marked by the murder of 30-year-old Swedish journalist Kim Wall,” the group said, while commending the country for guaranteeing free speech in its 1849 constitution, and noting that a Danish newspaper had published 12 cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed in 2015.
In an article accompanying the report, titled “Journalists are murdered in Europe as well”, the group rued the deteriorating situation for reporters in Europe.
As well as Wall, two other journalists were murdered: Maltese investigative reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia, and Slovakian investigative reporter Ján Kuciak, both of whom were killed while working to uncover government corruption. Malta, which was also given an abuse score of 45, dropped 18 places and Slovakia ten as a result.
Denmark was not the only Nordic country to drop down the ranking, with Finland ceding one place, following a police search of a well-known newspaper journalist’s home, and revelations that the country’s prime minister had pressured journalists not to run stories on his potential conflicts of interest.
Norway topped the ranking for the second year running, followed by Sweden and The Netherlands,
The United States fell two places to 45th, below Romania, as a result of President Donald Trump’s “violent anti-press rhetoric”.
The UK kept its disappointing position at 40th place, making it one of the “worst-ranked Western European countries”.