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The State of World Press Freedom

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Anna Fleck

The 2023 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders, was released today. This year, the agency highlights the “rapid effects that the digital ecosystem’s fake content industry has had on press freedom.” Out of the 180 countries and territories analyzed, some 118 nations had a majority of their respondents say that political actors in their countries were “often or systematically involved in massive disinformation or propaganda campaigns.” At the same time, the RSF notes that the development of artificial intelligence is shaking up an already fragile media universe.

As the following infographic shows, 31 countries were listed in the worst category in the index - where there exists a “very serious” situation of the press. 42 countries fall under the “difficult” category and 55 in the “problematic" group, while 52 have either a “satisfactory” or “good” situation. Norway is once more at the top of the list, ranking 1st place for the seventh year running, followed by Ireland and Denmark. The final trio, considered the most repressive countries for the press, are Vietnam (position 178), China (179) and North Korea (180).

The United States ranked 45th in 2023, having dropped three positions. RSF notes that the murders of the Las Vegas Review Journal’s Jeff German in September 2022, and Spectrum News 13’s Dylan Lyons in February 2023 both negatively impacted the country’s ranking.

Reporters Without Borders have compiled the index annually since 2002. The agency devised a new methodology in 2021 with the help of a panel of experts from the media and academic world. This year, 180 countries and territories were analyzed based on five indicators covering political context, legal framework, economic context, sociocultural context and safety.

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