Freedom of the press guarantees freedom of media and expression through mediums such as such as electronic media and printed material. Press freedom is construed as the absence of interference by any outside entity such as the government, religious groups, or any other independent organization, rather than the rights of the author to have his material published. Freedom of the Press guarantees the printer or publisher exclusive control over what they choose to publish and also the right to not print anything for whatever reason they choose. The preservation of the press freedom can be sought through constitutional or other legal protection. The philosophy of press freedom is accompanied by legislation which ensure that various degree of freedom of scientific research. Freedom of the press is critical for the democracy of a country in which the government is accountable to the people.
What Is The Press Freedom Index?
The World Press Freedom Index is a publication by the Reporters without Borders (RSF) as an advocacy tool based on the principles of emulation between states. RSF has been ranking countries according to the degree of the freedom of the press since 2002. The influence of the RSF report is growing with many heads of states and governments taking note of the publication. The index ranks countries based on the evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, the legislative framework in the country, and the safety of journalists. The degree of freedom is determined by analyzing the response of experts to the questions devised by the RSF. The data gathered is combined with the number of abuses and acts of violence meted on journalists. The complete tally of abuses and violence on journalists and media houses are kept by experts who are assigned to the different regions. In the interpretation of the freedom index result, the higher the figure, the worse the situation
Ranking Of Countries By The Press Freedom Index
According to the 2016 RSF report on press freedom released on April 2016, most of the Nordic countries have higher press freedom. Finland was the country where freedom was most free with an underlying situation score of 8.59 followed by Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, and New Zealand. Other countries with good freedom of press index include Costa Rica, Switzerland, and Sweden. The degree of press freedom was least in Eritrea which had an underlying score of 83.93. North Korea, Turkmenistan, Syria, and China also have least degree of press freedom with a score of more than 75.
Analysis Of The 2016 Press Freedom Index
The report by the RSF is an indication of a climate of fear and tension combined with an increasing control over the media by the government in most countries. Media violations seem to be high in Africa with most of the African countries such as Eritrea, Sudan, Djibouti, and Equatorial Guinea scoring highly on abuse of journalist. The civil unrest and clashes in these countries may be a possible cause for the media violation. The Middle East is also one of the world’s dangerous regions for journalists. Countries such as Syria have been characterized by wars with journalists trapped between the rival factions. Although India has the world’s largest democracy, it continues to report high cases of media violation because of the lack of a model for a free press.
Countries Of The World By Degree Of Press Freedom
The Press Freedom Index ranking (in brackets) and score, 2016