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Freedom House reports on press freedom in 192 countries

Complete Report (231KB PDF)

 


Beneath this are the Press Freedom rankings for 154 countries with populations in excess of 1 million. The methodology used by the authors, Freedom House, is given in the right hand column.

 
Country
Press Freedom Rank  2017
Democracy Rank 2018
Norway 1 1
Sweden 2 3
Netherlands 2 6
Finland 4 3
Belgium 4 9
Denmark 4 2
Switzerland 7 5
Estonia 8 13
Costa Rica 8 20
Portugal 10 16
Canada 11 8
Ireland 11 12
Jamaica 13 38
New Zealand 13 7
Germany 15 10
Czech Republic 16 25
Lithuania 16 21
Australia 18 13
Austria 18 15
United States 20 35
Slovenia 20 21
Cyprus 20 26
Uruguay 23 16
United Kingdom 24 11
Taiwan 24 21
Trinidad and Tobago 24 41
Slovakia 27 28
France 27 19
Latvia 27 36
Japan 30 16
Spain 31 27
Papua New Guinea 32 50
Mauritius 32 31
Chile 32 21
Italy 35 29
Namibia 36 40
Ghana 37 33
Israel 37 37
Poland 39 30
Korea, South 39 39
Mongolia 41 34
Mali 41 77
Benin 41 47
South Africa 44 45
Romania 44 43
El Salvador 46 55
Burkina Faso 46 76
Croatia 46 32
Panama 46 53
Bulgaria 50 48
Dominican Republic 50 63
India 52 52
Philippines 53 59
Hungary 53 48
Greece 53 46
Botswana 56 41
Malawi 56 65
Peru 56 55
Argentina 59 54
Brazil 60 59
Senegal 60 51
Mozambique 62 89
Kosovo 62 80
Indonesia 64 61
Serbia & Montenegro 64 55
Georgia 66 44
Lesotho 67 58
Bosnia and Herzegovina 67 81
Albania 67 63
Nigeria 67 91
Cote d'Ivoire 67 82
Haiti 72 102
Niger 72 83
Nepal 72 85
Mauritania 75 93
Bolivia 75 66
Ukraine 75 68
Tunisia 78 61
Sierra Leone 78 69
Nicaragua 80 100
Lebanon 81 98
Moldova 81 70
Colombia 83 66
Togo 83 93
Tanzania 85 87
Uganda 85 105
Kenya 85 102
Madagascar 85 108
Guatemala 85 102
Paraguay 90 72
Guinea-Bissau 90 120
Liberia 92 71
Congo, Republic of the 92 114
Kuwait 92 85
Afghanistan 92 123
Sri Lanka 96 89
Bangladesh 97 108
Zambia 98 95
Armenia 98 98
Macedonia 100 100
Mexico 100 74
Algeria 102 105
Pakistan 102 107
Cameroon 104 119
Guinea 104 114
Ecuador 104 73
Honduras 104 111
Morocco 104 95
Kyrgyzstan 109 113
Singapore 109 75
Jordan 111 84
Malaysia 112 87
South Sudan 113 139
Cambodia 113 127
Qatar 113 78
Gabon 116 114
Oman 116 97
Iraq 116 132
Central African Republic 116 126
Angola 120 133
Myanmar 120 121
Zimbabwe 122 131
Chad 122 133
Turkey 124 110
Libya 125 141
Egypt 125 123
Thailand 125 118
United Arab Emirates 128 78
Rwanda 129 91
Somalia 129 148
Venezuela 131 144
Dem. Rep. of the Congo 132 143
Russia 133 133
Belarus 133 114
Vietnam 135 127
Burundi 136 144
Yemen 136 147
Laos 136 137
Kazakhstan 136 133
Ethiopia 140 129
Sudan 140 148
Saudi Arabia 140 111
Gambia, The 143 138
China 143 125
Bahrain 143 129
Tajikistan 143 146
Azerbaijan 147 140
Syria 147 152
Iran 147 141
Cuba 150 122
Eritrea 151 151
Uzbekistan 152 150
Turkmenistan 153 153
Korea, North 153 154

 


This survey of 194 countries and territories expands a process conducted since 1980 by Freedom House. The findings are widely used by governments and international organizations, academics, and the news media in many countries. The degree to which each country permits the free flow of information determines the classification of its media as “Free,” “Partly Free,” or “Not Free.” Countries scoring 0 to 30 are regarded as having “Free” media, 31 to 60, “Partly Free” media, and 61 to 100, “Not Free” media. The criteria for such judgments and the arithmetic scheme for displaying the judgments are described below. Assigning numerical points allows for comparative analysis among the countries surveyed as well as facilitating an examination of trends over time.

The Criteria: This study is based on universal criteria. The starting point is the smallest, most universal unit of concern: the individual. We recognize cultural differences, diverse national interests, and varying levels of economic development. Yet the Universal Declaration of Human Rights instructs: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers (Article 19).
  The operative word for this survey is everyone. All states, from the most democratic to the most authoritarian, are committed to this doctrine through the United Nations system. To deny that doctrine is to deny the universality of information freedom—a basic human right. We recognize that cultural distinctions or economic underdevelopment may limit the volume of news flows within a country, but these and other arguments are not acceptable explanations for outright centralized control of the content of news and information. Some poor countries allow for the exchange of diverse views, while some developed countries restrict content diversity. We seek to recognize press freedom wherever it exists, in poor and rich countries, as well as in countries of various ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.
  The operative word for this survey is everyone. All states, from the most democratic to the most authoritarian, are committed to this doctrine through the United Nations system. To deny that doctrine is to deny the universality of information freedom—a basic human right. We recognize that cultural distinctions or economic underdevelopment may limit the volume of news flows within a country, but these and other arguments are not acceptable explanations for outright centralized control of the content of news and information. Some poor countries allow for the exchange of diverse views, while some developed countries restrict content diversity. We seek to recognize press freedom wherever it exists, in poor and rich countries, as well as in countries of various ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.

Our sources: Our data come from correspondents overseas, staff travel, international visitors, the findings of human rights and press freedom organizations, specialists in geographic and geopolitical areas, the reports of governments and multilateral bodies, and a variety of domestic and international news media. We would particularly like to thank other members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) network for providing detailed and timely analyses of press freedom violations in a variety of countries worldwide.

The methodology: Through the years, we have refined and expanded our methodology.  Recent changes to our methodology are intended to simplify the presentation of information without altering the comparability of data for a given country over the 25-year span, or of the comparative ratings of all countries over that period.
  Our examination of the level of press freedom in each country is divided into three broad categories: the legal environment, the political environment, and the economic environment.  The legal environment encompasses both an examination of the laws and regulations that could influence media content as well as the government’s inclination to use these laws and legal institutions in order to restrict the media’s ability to operate. We assess the positive impact of legal and constitutional guarantees for freedom of expression; the potentially negative aspects of security legislation, the penal code and other criminal statutes; penalties for libel and defamation; the existence of and ability to use Freedom of Information legislation; the independence of the judiciary and of official media regulatory bodies; registration requirements for both media outlets and journalists; and the ability of journalists’ groups to operate freely.
  Under the category of political environment, we evaluate the degree of political control over the content of news media. Issues examined in this category include the editorial independence of both the state-owned and privately-owned media; access to information and sources; official censorship and self-censorship; the vibrancy of the media; the ability of both foreign and local reporters to cover the news freely and without harassment; and the intimidation of journalists by the state or other actors, including arbitrary detention and imprisonment, violent assaults, and other threats.
  Our third category examines the economic environment for the media. This includes the structure of media ownership; transparency and concentration of ownership; the costs of establishing media as well as of production and distribution; the selective withholding of advertising or subsidies by the state or other actors; the impact of corruption and bribery on content; and the extent to which the economic situation in a country impacts the development of the media.

The numbers: Each country is rated in three categories, with the higher number being the least free. A country’s total score is based on the total of the three categories: a score of 0-30 places the country in the free-press group, 31-60 in partly- free, and 61-100 in the not free-press group.

LEGEND

Country

Status: Free (0-30)/Partly Free (31-60)/Not Free (61-100)
Legal Environment: 0-30 points
Political Environment: 0-40 points
Economic Environment: 0-30 points
Total Score: 0-100 points

Method and criteria courtesy of Freedom House.
Contact Details for Freedom House
120 Wall Street
26th Floor
New York N.Y. 10005
Tel (212)514-8040
Fax (212)514-8050
1319 18th Street NW
Washington DC 20036
Tel (202) 296-5101
Fax (202) 296-5078
www.freedomhouse.org
fh@freedomhouse.org



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