NEWS | 2 May 2017

World Press Freedom Index 2017

Reporters Without Borders has published its annual Press Freedom Index. Four Nordic countries top the list, but Finland slipped down from its number one position to third place due to political pressure on YLE. Seen to the world’s global score, media freedom is under threat now more than ever.

The 2017 World Press Freedom Index reflects a world in which attacks on the media have become commonplace and strongmen are on the rise. Constraints and violations have increased by 14 per cent in the span of five years.

By 2016, nearly two thirds of the countries measured have registered a deterioration in their situation, including democracies.

The number of countries where the media situation was “good” or “fairly good” decreased by over 2 per cent. In 16 countries only - including the five Nordic countries - the situation is defined as “good”.

Finland drops the first place to Norway
Norway tops the 2017 press freedom index, followed by Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Iceland is ranked as number ten.

But after six years at the top, Finland has surrendered its number one position (down to 3rd position) due to political pressure and conflicts of interests (read more in Anu Koivonen's article on #Sipilägate in Finland).

The top spot has been taken by Norway (up 2), while Sweden has risen six places to take 2nd position. In the index of 2016, Sweden fell from fifth to eight places due to increased threats against journalists. The current climb upwards is explained by the authorities sending a positive signal by convicting several of those responsible.

Denmark still ranks fourth, while Iceland is up nine places to take 10th position in this year’s index. This is explained by  Iceland's aiming to create a favorable environment for the protection of sources, transparency and media freedom. Iceland fell sharply in 2015, from place eight to 21, due to worsening relations between politicians and the media.

Press freedom under more threat than ever
Reporters Without Borders Index highlights a situation where media freedom is under threat now more than ever.

A newly released survey from Freedom House points at the same development. According to their report Freedom of the Press 2017, only 13 per cent of the world's population lived in countries with a Free press in 2016, and global press freedom declined to its lowest point in 13 years.

Read more:
Reporters Without Borders: World Press Freedom Index 2017
Freedom House: Freedom of the Press 2017


Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index: 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. Read more about the methodology.





The Assault on Journalism. Building knowledge to protect freedom of expression; eds. Ulla Carlsson & Reeta Pöyhtäri (Nordicom)

Nordic Voices on Freedom of Expression, by the Nordic Journalist Centre for the Nordic Council of Ministers

#Sipilägate and the break-up of the political bromance in Finland; by Anu Koivunen in Nordicom-Information 1/2017 (to be published in mid-May)