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Iceland's Ranking Drops in World Press Freedom Index

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Iceland's Ranking Drops in World Press Freedom Index

The press at the Northern Future Forum 2015

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

Iceland ranks 13th in this year’s World Press Freedom Index, Kjarninn reports, whereas last year, it was ranked 10th worldwide. Iceland is currently the lowest ranked of all the Nordic countries.

Published every year since 2002, the WPFI “...ranks 180 countries according to the level of freedom available to journalists. It is a snapshot of the media freedom situation based on an evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework and safety of journalists in each country.” The index does not, however, rank countries according to their public policies—“even if governments obviously have a major impact on their country’s ranking”—and nor is it intending to be a comment on the quality of journalism being conducted in each country.

This year, the top ten countries are: Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Jamaica, Belgium, New Zealand, Denmark, and Costa Rica. The five lowest ranking countries are China, Syria, Turkmenistan, Eritrea, and North Korea.

In its brief country analysis, the index credits Iceland as a state that “ambitiously aspires to become the El Dorado of investigative journalism and online media. In June 2010, its parliament unanimously adopted the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), which aims to create a favorable environment for the protection of sources, transparency, media freedom, and independence.” It also mentions protections that are in place in the country for whistleblowers and that aim to discourage “libel tourism.” Nevertheless, Iceland’s ranking has dropped this year because “[t]hough the constitution guarantees “absolute” freedom of expression, the situation of journalists has worsened since 2012 because relations between politicians and media have soured.”

See the full rankings and analyses here.

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