NEWS | 25 Apr 2016

World Press Freedom Index 2016

Reporters Without Borders has published its annual Press Freedom Index. The Nordic countries rank high on the list, but while Finland is the best in the world, Sweden is down from fifth to eighth place. Looking at the world’s total score, there has been a deep decline in respect for media freedom. 

The index ranks the performance of 180 countries according to a range of criteria including media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate. The index aims to provide a clear picture of the press freedom situation in individual countries and the world at large. 

Three Nordic countries among the top five
Finland tops the 2016 index, a position it has held since 2010, while Norway and Denmark rank third and fourth, respectively (with the Netherlands in second place).

Sweden is eighth, three places lower than last year, due to increased threats against journalists. Iceland, which last year fell from place eight to 21, has recovered somewhat and is now in place 19. Iceland’s lower ranking in recent years is explained by worsening relations between politicians and the media.

Negative development in Europe
Europe still has the freest media, but some countries have seen a sharp drop in press freedom. Among others, Poland has plummeted 29 places on the list to place 47. Reporters Without Borders fears an erosion of the European model, due to laws of mass surveillance and a misuse of counter-terrorism measures, as well as an increased concentration of media ownership.

Worst situation in the MENA region
Following Europe in the Press Freedom Index, but quite distantly, is sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas, and thereafter come Asia and Eastern Europe/Central Asia. The Middle East and North Africa are the worst regions for the press and freedom of expression.

Read more:
Reporters Without Borders, News, April 20, 2016
Reporters without Borders: World Press Freedom Index 2015 (report, analysis and interactive map)

Other current reports, released in April:
Freedom House: Freedom of the Press 2016
Council of Europe: State of Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law