NEWS – World Press Freedom Index: Press freedom deteriorating worldwide
Press freedom deteriorating worldwide, including in Europe
On 3 May, Reporters without Borders launched the Press Freedom Index 2018. The worldwide trend, in Europe too, is one of growing hostility to journalists and media, often openly encouraged by political leaders. There is also some good news: the Netherlands has risen two places compared to last year.
Deteriorating press freedom is increasingly something we can observe close to home. Various European countries show reduced press freedom this year, particularly due to authoritarian regimes that increasingly restrict independent media and make it impossible for journalists to do their work. EU Member States Poland and Hungary have dropped down in the rankings, as have the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The last-named country drops by 10 places, due among other things to the murder of research journalist Kuciak, who was investigating fraud with EU money and possible links with high-ranking individuals in Slovakian business and government. Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands are ranked first, second and third, respectively. For the Netherlands this means it has risen two places as compared to 2017. This rise is partly due to new legislation enabling journalists to protect their sources when called as witnesses in a criminal case.
The Press Freedom Index has been published annually since 2002 and ranks 180 countries worldwide according to the extent to which journalists are given the freedom and security to do their work. This makes the Index a key tool in defending the interests of press freedom worldwide and working to achieve specific improvements to the situation in individual countries. Adessium Foundation has been supporting the Press Freedom Index since 2012.