6 May 2013

The Press Freedom Index published by Freedom House on 3 May marked World Press Freedom Day.  The index suggests a disappointing lack of improvement in the extent of media freedom.  Countries ranked at the top of the index are not substantially different from the 2012 list – the “Free” jurisdictions cover nearly 14% of the world’s population.  But though there have been marked improvements in a few countries, best illustrated by Burma, there has been a deterioration of press freedom in many other developing jurisdictions. Similar numbers  – 43% of the the world’s population – live in countries which are “Partly Free” and those that are “Not Free”.

There are 197 countries on 2013 index.  A total of 63 (32 percent) were rated Free, 70 (36 percent) were rated Partly Free, and 64 (32 percent) were rated Not Free.  There was no general improvement in press freedom on the previous index  ( the totals last year were 66 Free, 72 Partly Free, and 59 Not Free ).

New Zealand’s placing at 13th, was unchanged from last year.

2013 Press Freedom Index – “Top 20”

1st = Norway
3rd = Belgium
6th = Denmark
9th Andorra
10th Iceland
11th Lichtenstein
12th St Lucia
13th = Estonia
New Zealand
San Marino
19th Germany Marshall Islands Portugal          St Vincent and Grenadines

USA ranked 23rd =, Canada 29th= and the United Kingdom and Australia were 32nd =.

All the Pacific Forum countries are ranked as Free, except for Fiji.

The world’s eight worst-rated countries, where there is almost nothing indicative of press freedoms, are Belarus, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.