Sudan still near bottom of World Press Freedom Index
Most of the movement in the World Press Freedom Index unveiled today by Reporters Without Borders is indicative of a climate of fear and tension combined with increasing control over newsrooms by governments and private-sector interests.
The 2016 World Press Freedom Index reflects the intensity of the attacks on journalistic freedom and independence by governments, ideologies and private-sector interests during the past year.
Sudan has retained the same position as last year, ranking 174 out of 180. The Index publishers point out that Omar Al Bashir, Sudan’s president since 1989, “has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and his country ranks near the bottom of the press freedom index. The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) hounds journalists and censors the print media, above all by closing down newspapers, such as the daily Al Tayar in December 2015, or by confiscating entire newspaper issues as they come off the press. Journalists are subjected to interminable judicial proceedings with potentially long jail sentences.”
World Press Freedom Index is seen as a benchmark throughout the world. The Index ranks 180 countries according to the freedom allowed journalists. It also includes indicators of the level of media freedom violations in each region. These show that Europe (with 19.8 points) still has the freest media, followed distantly by Africa (36.9), which for the first time overtook the Americas (37.1), a region where violence against journalists is on the rise. Asia (43.8) and Eastern Europe/Central Asia (48.4) follow, while North Africa/Middle East (50.8) is still the region where journalists are most subjected to constraints of every kind.
Three north European countries head the rankings. They are Finland (ranked 1st, the position it has held since 2010), Netherlands (2nd, up 2 places) and Norway (3rd, down 1). The countries that rose most in the Index include Tunisia (96th, up 30), thanks to a decline in violence and legal proceedings, and Ukraine (107th, up 22), where the conflict in the east of the country abated.
The countries that fell farthest include Poland (47th, down 29), where the ultra-conservative government seized control of the public media, and (much farther down) Tajikistan, which plunged 34 places to 150th as a result of the regime’s growing authoritarianism. The Sultanate of Brunei (155th, down 34) suffered a similar fall because gradual introduction of the Sharia and threats of blasphemy charges have fuelled self-censorship. Burundi (156th, down 11) fell because of the violence against journalists resulting from President Pierre Nkurunziza’s contested reelection for a third term. The same “infernal trio” are in the last three positions: Turkmenistan (178th), North Korea (179th) and Eritrea (180th), the analysis by Reporters Without Borders says.
Back to overview