Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Freedom of the Press

An independent press is essential to the functioning of a democracy. The ability of media to criticize the government and public officials is something worth protecting. A free and independent press also allows for civil society to have a platform and a vehicle for debate and dissent.

The Press Freedom Index 2011/2012 is an excellent resource to begin researching press freedoms.

The top 10 Countries are:

1. Finland
2. Norway
3. Estonia
4. Netherlands
5. Austria
6. Iceland
7. Luxembourg
8. Switzerland
9. Cape Verde
10. Canada

Hey at least we made the top 10, not bad, but to be fair we tied Denmark for 10th.

Something interesting I found was that recent protests in the Arab world has caused Countries caught up in the Arab Spring to have a lower press freedom score. Protest movements in European Countries have also caused lower press freedom scores for those countries. It would appear as though there is a correlation between war and public protest and low press freedom index scores. The United States ranked 47th. These low results from the United States are attributed to the Occupy protests and current wars in the Middle East.

Out of 179 Countries the bottom 10 are:

170. Sudan
171. Yemen
172. Vietnam
173. Bahrain
174. China
175. Iran
176. Syria
177. Turkmenistan
178. North Korea
179. Eritrea


  1. I'm not surprised that virtually all the Scandinavian countries are at the top of the list, as they have the best government programs, and therefore no need for complaint (and therefore more freedom in the press).

    I'm also not surprised that the USA is #47. There is so much corporate control over the media.

    Great post! I like the map too, it really adds to the post.

  2. This is really interesting. I hadn't thought to look this up. Thanks for the post, Ian.

  3. Glad that Canada made the top 10! I was really surprised about the US, but it makes sense with your explanation.