By Annette Chrysostomou
Violations of press freedom have increased drastically worldwide from last year, especially in Europe.
Though Cyprus has gained one place on the international scale – up to 24 – the country is part of this trend, with a two per cent decline in press freedom, according to the 2015 Reporters without Borders world Press Freedom report.
The report ranks the performance of 180 countries according to a range of criteria that include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and the infrastructure environment in which the media operate.
Finland is on top of the list and has been there for five years in a row, followed by Norway and Denmark, but all of their performance scores have fallen recently. The worst performers are Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea.
This year, two-thirds of the 180 countries surveyed performed less well than in the previous year. The annual global indicator, which measures the overall level of freedom of information violations in the countries year by year, has increased by eight per cent compared to 2014, and almost ten per cent compared with 2013. The decline affected all continents.
European countries showed the biggest decline and have been declining for years. EU countries are ranked first to 106th, an unprecedented spread. Cyprus is up one rank and is now at 24. On a scale from zero to 100, where zero signifies a very good situation and 100 a very serious one, the overall situation in Cyprus is judged satisfactory with a score of 16.5, though its performance has declined by two per cent compared with last year.
According to the report, European mechanisms are unable to stop the erosion of pluralism.
“Government interference in the media is a reality in many European Union countries. It is facilitated by the concentration of media ownership in ever fewer hands and a lack of transparency about ownership,” the report said.