RSF’s Press Freedom Index: Media Freedom Falling in Democracies

Reporters Without Borders this week released its 2017 World Press Freedom Index of 180 countries, and the news is not good. The report found media freedoms falling in democracies and that “nothing seems to be checking that fall.” Nearly two thirds (62.2%) of countries measured had deteriorated freedoms, while the number of countries where the media freedom situation was “good” or “fairly good” fell by 2.3%.

Reporters Without Borders Releases Press Freedom Index

Reporters Without Borders today released its 2014 World Press Freedom Index, spotlighting major declines in media freedom in such varied countries as the United States, Central African Republic, and Guatemala while noting marked improvements in Ecuador, Bolivia, and South Africa. The same trio of Finland, Netherlands, and Norway heads the index again, while Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea continue to be the biggest information black holes, again occupying the last three positions. You can find RSF’s full index and a 3-dimensional map here. The report is also available in several languages other than English.

An Online Survival Kit from Reporters Without Borders

How can you protect yourself from online snooping? Reporters Without Borders has published an Online Survival Kit on its website with tools and practical advice that will help protect your communications and data. As the website explains, “The tools and techniques presented in this kit do not require advanced knowledge of computers and programming.” In other words, you don’t need to be an IT engineer to protect your emails and stay anonymous online.
The Reporters Without Borders Digital Survival Kit is available in French, English, Arabic, Russian, and Chinese, and is published under a Creative Commons license.

Less than 14% of World Lives in Countries with Free Press

The percentage of the global population living in countries with a free press is at the lowest level in more than a decade, according to the findings of Freedom of the Press 2013: A Global Survey of Media Independence, a new report by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Freedom House. The report found that just 14 percent of the world’s population — about one in six people—live in societies “where coverage of political news is robust, the safety of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and the press is not subject to onerous legal or economic pressures.” The overall decline in press freedom is highlighted by various cases. As a region, Latin America experienced a further tightening of controls on the media, led by Ecuador and Paraguay, which dropped from Party Free to Not Free. Moreover, there was an important downturn in Mali and a significant deterioration in Greece. The report also notes uneven conditions in the Middle East in 2012, which again ranked as the world’s worst region for press freedom.