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Press freedom in Portugal suffers tumble

Country falls from “very good” to “satisfactory”

Press freedom in Portugal – or at least the perception of press freedom by NGO Reporters without Borders – has dropped from last year’s ranking of “very good” to simply “satisfactory”.

This isn’t anything like as bad as it sounds. It means Portugal has fallen from 7th place in the ranking in 2022, to 9th. It is only two slots. But in falling, we are no longer in a rare country with good press freedom, but leading 44 others with varying degrees of ‘okay’ freedom.

The 21st edition of the ‘world press freedom ranking’ was published to mark World Press Freedom Day, and includes 180 countries and territories.

Eight countries are considered in the ‘top slots’ (very good press freedom). They are: 

1 – Norway,

2 – Ireland

3 – Denmark

4 – Sweden

5 – Finland,

6 – Netherlands

7 – Lithuania

8 – Estonia

Portugal comes in slot 9, leading the ‘satisfactory’ group which includes, in this order: East Timor, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Canada, Latvia, Slovakia, Iceland, Samoa, Luxembourg, Germany, Namibia, Costa Rica, France, South Africa, UK, Australia, Moldavia, Austria, Trinidad and Tobago, Belgium, Jamaica, Cape Verde, Seychelles, Taiwan, Spain, Andorra, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Argentina, Italy, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Tonga, United States, Gambia, South Korea, Surinam, Armenia, Slovenia, Belize, and finally Uruguay in slot 52.

Satisfactory is the ranking given to any country where freedom of the press scores above 70%.

At the bottom end of the scale – the ‘four worst’ countries in terms of press freedom – are Iran (177th slot, translating into 24.8% of press freedom), Vietnam (24.5%), China (23.9%) and finally North Korea (in 180th position, with just 21.7%).

Russia is ranked 164 (with 34.7% of freedom); countries being courted this week by Portugal’s government (Angola, Rwanda and Ethiopia) are all in poor positions (Angola, 125th, Ethiopia, 130th and Rwanda, 131th), while it is perhaps a surprise to see quite a few European countries in the ‘poor press freedom slots” – Hungary (slot 72), Greece (107, with little more than 55%), Poland (57th place), Cyprus (55th) and Malta (84th).

Equally Ukraine scores a ‘poor’, albeit it is only in 79th place in the ranking, with a perceived 61% of press freedom.

In other words, Portugal’s score – even though it has dipped – is still pretty exemplary.

Talking generally about the scores this year, the ranking’s secretary Christophe Deloire commented on the signs of “increased aggression from authorities in many countries and growing animosity towards journalists on social media and in the physical world”. He referred also to the growth of the “fake content industry, which produces and distributes disinformation and provides the tools to manufacture it”.

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