The 2021 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders, was released this week. The report states that "journalism, the main vaccine against disinformation, is completely or partly blocked in 73% of the 180 countries ranked by the organisation", adding: "The Index data reflect a dramatic deterioration in people's access to information and an increase in obstacles to news coverage. The coronavirus pandemic has been used as grounds to block journalists’ access to information sources and reporting in the field. The data shows that journalists are finding it increasingly hard to investigate and report sensitive stories, especially in Asia, the Middle East and Europe."
As our infographic shows, Eritrea is rock bottom of the index, followed by North Korea and Turkmenistan. Northern Europe has the highest levels of media freedom worldwide and Norway was ranked first. It is followed by Finland and Sweden in the top-three while the top-five is rounded off by Denmark and Costa Rica with the Netherlands in sixth. The Reporters Without Borders have compiled the index annually since 2002 and levels of press freedom are calculated through a range of indicators such as media independence, transparency and the media environment in general.