IFAJ Congress Hears from Reporters Without Borders

Cindy Zimmerman

Here in the United States we tend to take freedom of the press for granted, since it is specifically guaranteed in the First Amendment. But it’s not so free in many other countries.

The 2019 IFAJ Congress last week featured a presentation from Daphne Pellegrino with Reporters Without Borders, more properly known internationally as Reporters Sans Frontieres or RSF, which publishes an annual World Press Freedom Index evaluating the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories.

Pellegrino says the countries are ranked based on surveys and the lower the number the better the score. “At the top of our index this year are three countries that generally tend to rank on the top, places where press freedom is considered to be a cultural value,” she said. They are Norway, Finland and Sweden. The Netherlands and Denmark round out the top five. The rest of the top ten are Switzerland, New Zealand, Jamaica, Belgium, and Costa Rica.

At the bottom of the index are “places we consider information black holes,” said Pellegrino. Coming in last is Turkmenistan, bordered by Afghanistan and Iran, with a government controlled press that is actually worse than North Korea, which moved up a notch this year to 179th place.

The United States is ranked 48th, down three places in this year’s Index and the media climate is now classified as “problematic” by RSF. Pellegrino says that is due primarily to the shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, in June 2018 that killed four journalists and one other member of the newspaper’s staff.

Learn more in Pellegrino’s remarks to IFAJ.

Remarks from Daphne Pellegrino, Reporters Without Borders

2019 AMS/IFAJ Congress Photo Album

Ag Media Summit, Audio, IFAJ, Journalism