Finland, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands topped the recent World Press Freedom Index 2015 compiled by Reporters Without Borders. The Index ranks the performance of 180 countries according to a range of criteria that include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate.
Finland has been in first place for five years, followed by the other two Scandinavian countries. On the other side of the scale, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea placed as the countries with the most threatened media freedom.
The 2015 World Press Freedom Index highlighted the worldwide deterioration in freedom of information in 2014. Beset by wars, the growing threat from non-state operatives, violence during demonstrations and the economic crisis, media freedom is in retreat on all five continents.
The United States went down three places, ending on the 49th position, and Russia went down four places and ended up on the 152nd position. Two thirds of the 180 countries surveyed for the 2015 World Press Freedom Index performed worse than in the previous year.
The European Union and the Balkans region is in the lead by far, but it still recorded the biggest fall between the 2014 and 2015 editions. North Africa and the Middle East yet again ended up on the bottom of the freedom of information list.
See the interactive map here.
Reporters Without Borders is an international NGO based in France that promotes and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press. The NGO has two primary spheres of activity: one is focused on Internet Censorship and the New Media, and the other on providing material, financial and psychological assistance to journalists assigned to dangerous areas.