The recently-published Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index has seen Estonia rise six places to joint third (with the Netherlands) just behind Finland and Norway which occupy the top two spots.
The Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom index is based on a survey compiled and sent to partner organisations, journalists, correspondents, jurists and other interested parties round the world. Questions include incidence of repression of journalists including imprisonment (this only refers to domestic journalists and not foreign correspondents), state responsibility in censorship, and the state’s attitude towards internet development in any given country. The way in which scores are measured has somewhat changed from the previous year, with a negative score actually being a good thing, but the change in ranking is the key yardstick.
Estonia first appeared in the rankings in 2003, the second year they had been compiled, in joint 13th place, and it never fell lower than this point. In fact this year’s is the country’s joint best place, having already placed third in 2007.
The latest rankings see Iceland and Austria making up the top six, Sweden in 12th place, the UK in 28th place, the US in 47th place, neighbouring Latvia in 50th place and Russia in 142nd place.
The Press Freedom Index placing is not a reflection of the quality of the media within a given country, though it might be surmised that a certain corollary between the two might exist.
The original article which includes the criteria used in the questionnaire and the procedures in making the survey can be viewed here.