FH: Freedom of the Press
Freedom House has been at the forefront in monitoring threats to media independence since 1980. A free press plays a key role in sustaining and monitoring a healthy democracy, as well as in contributing to greater accountability, good government, and economic development. Most importantly, restrictions on media are often an early indicator that governments intend to assault other democratic institutions.
According to Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press index, after two decades of progress, press freedom is now in decline in almost every part of the world. Only 17 percent of the world’s citizens live in countries that enjoy a free press. In the rest of the world, governments as well as non-state actors control the viewpoints that reach citizens and brutally repress independent voices who aim to promote accountability, good governance, and economic development.
The Freedom of the Press index an annual survey of media independence in 195 countries and territories, is at the core of Freedom House’s press freedom project. The annual index contains the most comprehensive data set available on global media freedom and is a key resource for scholars, policymakers, and international institutions. The index assesses the degree of print, broadcast, and internet freedom in every country in the world, analyzing the events of each calendar year. It provides numerical rankings and rates each country’s media as “Free,” “Partly Free,” or “Not Free.” Country narratives examine the legal environment for the media, political pressures that influence reporting, and economic factors that affect access to information. Recent editions of the Freedom of the Press book is available for purchase from Rowman and Littlefield publishers.
Freedom House’s historical data, spanning a time frame from 1980 to the present, is the most comprehensive data on global media freedom available and is a key resource for scholars, policymakers, and international institutions.
Freedom House also undertakes advocacy efforts through press releases and the publication of special reports, such as the recently released Freedom on the Net, a pilot study of 15 countries that analyzes the state of internet freedom and warns that the rights of internet and mobile phone users are increasingly at risk as governments, both repressive and democratic, expand their ability to monitor and control online activity. Freedom House is also actively involved with other groups in the global press freedom community in organizing events and programs designed to expand the space for free expression around the world.
Note: Each edition of Freedom in the World reflects developments that took place in the previous calendar year .