12:45 Apr. 20, 2016
Freedom of the media declines around the world
In 2015, respect for media freedom disturbingly declined across the world.
However, Ukraine managed to improve its rating by 22 points.
This is stated by the 2016 edition of the World Press Freedom Index, which Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published on 20 April. The Index ranks 180 countries on indicators such as media independence, self-censorship, the rule of law, transparency and abuses.
According to researchers, state authorities increase restrictions for journalists in Turkey, Poland, Tajikistan and Egypt. Independent media get under the pressure of "religious ideology" and "large-scale propaganda machine" more often than previously.
"Throughout the world, 'oligarchs' are buying up media outlets and are exercising pressure that compounds the pressure already coming from governments", said Reporters Without Borders, a France-based advocacy group.
Ukraine's rating has increased by 22 points and now the country holds the 107th place out of 180. Human rights activists attribute this to a significant decrease in violence against journalists. However, the report stresses that Ukraine is still suffering from the undue influence of tycoons and Russia's information war.
Russia has improved its ranking by four points and now holds the 148th place. The report stresses that prosecution against journalists who criticize the Russian government intensifies and has a negative impact on media freedom.
Reporters Without Borders say that in Russia a number of foreign publishers were forced to sell their shares to Russian media and NGOs campaigning for press freedom are under pressure. Moscow also strives to meddle with news coverage abroad.
Among the post-Soviet countries, Estonia demonstrates the highest degree of media freedom - the country holds 14th place in the rating.
According to Reporters Without Borders, the U.S. situation is 'satisfactory' – the country comes 41st in the index.
The countries that show the highest respect for press include Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and New Zealand. China, Syria, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea are the countries with the biggest obstacles for media.