As of 2022, Eritrea and Egypt had the least freedom of the press in Africa, with 19.62 and 30.23 points in the press freedom index, respectively. On the other hand, Seychelles and Namibia obtained the highest scores on the continent, showing a satisfactory situation. The press freedom index determines the levels of media freedom in each country, evaluating the political, economic, and sociocultural context, as well as legal framework and safety of journalists. The index ranks from zero, a very serious situation, to 100, a good situation regarding press freedom.
Low levels of press freedom on the continent
As the index shows, some African countries lack press freedom. For instance, Eritrea and Djibouti do not have any privately-owned media, which is why they obtained the least-performing index scores on the continent. According to the index, Egypt ranked second in Africa for having the least press freedom and presented the most critical situation in North Africa. On the other hand, Tunisia had by far the highest levels of press freedom in the northern region. A survey conducted in 2020 showed that almost half of Tunisia’s population believed that the media should be free from government control.
Limited safety of journalists in Africa
Especially in the world regions with poor press freedom, journalists are often in danger due to their work. Worldwide, the number of imprisoned journalists has generally risen in recent years, growing from 145 in 2010 to nearly 300 in 2021. Egypt ranked among the countries with the most journalists in jail after China and Myanmar as of 2021. Moreover, cases of murdered journalists are also reported every year in different parts of the world. Somalia was the only African country listed among the deadliest countries for journalists globally between 2016 and 2021, where it ranked 9th between the Philippines and Colombia.
According to the source, "The purpose of the World Press Freedom Index is to compare the level of press freedom enjoyed by journalists and media in 180 countries and territories. This comparison is based on a definition of press freedom formulated by RSF and its panel experts when developing the new methodology to be used from 2022 onwards."
"The Index is a snapshot of the situation in the 180 countries and territories during the calendar year (January-December) prior to its publication. Nonetheless, it is meant to be seen as an accurate reflection of the situation at the time of publication."
The Index’s rankings are based on a score ranging from 0 to 100 that is assigned to each country or territory, with 100 being the best possible score (the highest possible level of press freedom) and 0 the worst.
From 0 to 40 points: Very serious situation
From 40 to 55 points: Difficult situation
From 55 to 70 points: Problematic situation
From 70 to 85 points: Satisfactory situation
From 85 to 100 points: Good situation
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Reporters Without Borders. (May 30, 2022). Press freedom index in Africa in 2022, by country [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved July 01, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1221101/press-freedom-index-in-africa-by-country/
Reporters Without Borders. "Press freedom index in Africa in 2022, by country ." Chart. May 30, 2022. Statista. Accessed July 01, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1221101/press-freedom-index-in-africa-by-country/
Reporters Without Borders. (2022). Press freedom index in Africa in 2022, by country . Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: July 01, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1221101/press-freedom-index-in-africa-by-country/
Reporters Without Borders. "Press Freedom Index in Africa in 2022, by Country ." Statista, Statista Inc., 30 May 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1221101/press-freedom-index-in-africa-by-country/
Reporters Without Borders, Press freedom index in Africa in 2022, by country Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1221101/press-freedom-index-in-africa-by-country/ (last visited July 01, 2022)