New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's, and will have little resemblance to yesterday's.It is widely acknowledged that a basic precondition for inclusive, democratic societies to function is a well-established and protected freedom of the press. A free press is one where political reporting is strong and independent, the safety of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and media are not subject to burdensome legal or economic pressures. Under these conditions, free debate, challenges to authority, and new ideas are all possible.
Nevertheless, “there has been a deep and disturbing decline in respect for media freedom at both the global and regional levels,” in recent months according to the 2016 World Press Freedom Index. The World Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking and report on global media freedom around the world, produced by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). RSF attributes much of the global decline to antagonistic politics, new security laws, increased government surveillance, and physical attacks on journalists that all stifle the spirit of investigation and send chilling messages to journalists and media outlets.
This map shows the countries where media are free to report the news and where the media is strictly controlled.
World press freedom visualised
RSF ranks 180 countries by a range of criteria such as pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative environment, transparency, infrastructure, and abuses.
RSF’s index is joined by Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press rankings, which give each country and territory a total press freedom score from 0 (best) to 100 (worst) on the basis of 23 methodology questions divided into three subcategories. The total score determines the status designation of Free, Partly Free, or Not Free.
Both rankings were released leading up to World Press Freedom Day, which aims to raise awareness of the fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluate press freedom around the world, defend media from attacks on their independence, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. This year it was celebrated on May 3, coinciding with the 250th anniversary of the world’s first freedom of information law and the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration of press freedom principles in Africa.
Niall McCarthy, a data journalist at Statista, created the map for the Independent, using data from the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2016 World Press Freedom Index.