Essay Example on Freedom of the Press

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Boston College
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Finland, Netherlands, and Norway were ranked the best in freedom of the press (reporters without borders, 2016). This is attributed to the fact that the countries value, promote, and defend press and media freedom. Defending press freedom is characterized by media independence, diversity, defending the position of the press, and encouraging the freedom and security of journalists. In these countries, journalists enjoy high levels of freedom in their everyday work. There is no interference from the government or the media owners that restricts freedom hence the journalists can publish any story. Moreover, these countries have effective institutions and laws that guarantee press freedom. Concerning democracy, these countries allow the citizens, directly and indirectly, to get involved in decision making through elected officials and government offices (Czepek, Hellwig & Nowak, 2009). Furthermore, democracies allow people to voice their opinions by allowing unlimited freedom most specifically press freedom.

Turkmenistan, North Korea, and Eritrea rank the lowest in freedom of the press. This is because the government and other corporations limit the independence of journalists and media. The press restricted to publish reports that are considered a threat to the regime (Reporters without borders, 2016). The news and information are kept under control and reinforcements put in place to continue the repression and censorship of the press. To make matters worse, only a handful of reporters risk everything to challenge the governments censorship by passing bits of information to media based abroad. In most cases, the governments deny such information by terming it as propaganda. Most of these governments are authoritarian and communist states that limit press freedom to create information void by controlling radio and television receivers and supplying the content to be published. Moreover, in countries like Turkmenistan, the government appoints even editors and censors content.

The United States was ranked 41 up eight places from 2015. Despite the fact that the First Amendment of the Constitution protects the United States media freedom, the war on terror has made the government to crackdown on whistleblowers who leak information about surveillance and spying foreign operations specifically on activities linked to counter-terrorism. With the growing threat of terror from groups such as ISIS and lone wolfs who have been radicalized on the U.S soil, the government has enhanced measures to deal with terror and to prevent further attacks from happening. In most cases, these activities require secrecy to avoid compromising counter-terrorism measures. Freedom of the press in the United stated is protected by the first amendment of the constitution which prevents government interference with the passing of information.

Freedom of the press experienced many changes in 2016. In Africa, journalists faced new threats of terror, election crisis, and armed conflict as in the case of South Sudan. In North Africa and the Middle East, journalists were trapped in a terror zone finding themselves between rival factions, radical groups, belligerents, and governments that were extreme. In the Americas, journalists experienced obstacles from institutional violence, organized crime as in the case of Honduras, and cyber surveillance as in the case of the United States (Reporters without borders, 2016). Most of these obstacles were fueled by mounting political tension due to economic recession and uncertainty and the increased terror threats. Moreover, in countries like Mexico, journalists linked to corruption and drug trafficking were killed. In most countries in Asia, many media houses underwent censorship with businessmen in places such as Hong Kong increasing their efforts to acquire media outlets and China even abducting journalists. In the countries such as Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan internet use was restricted, and critics were suppressed. Despite ranking among the best, freedom of the press in many countries in Europe was threatened by the new counter-terrorism measures introduced to deal with the increasing terror threats in the region.



Czepek, A., Hellwig, M., & Nowak, E. (2009). Press freedom and pluralism in Europe: Concepts and conditions. Bristol, UK: Intellect.

Reporters without borders. (2016). The World Press Freedom Index | Reporters without borders. RSF. Retrieved 19 April 2017, from

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