Azerbaijan is on the Black List again according to the Press Freedom Index

37 On April 20, the press support organization Reporters without Borders published the annual World Press Freedom Index, which demonstrates that journalism is completely or significantly difficult in 73, and is limited in 59 countries from 180.

The Index is determined by the level of restrictions on access to information and obstacles in news coverage. The study shows that it is becoming increasingly difficult for journalists around the world to investigate and cover sensitive topics, especially in Asia and the Middle East, but also in Europe, the report said.

Disinformation or fake news that misleads the public has become a significant problem.

For the fifth consecutive year, Norway has been ranked number one, despite the fact that its media emphasize the lack of access to public information about the pandemic. Finland remains in second place, while Sweden (3rd place, +1) returns to third place, losing last year to Denmark (4th place). Thus, the 2021 ranking confirms a form of “northern supremacy” or “Scandinavian model” in maintaining press freedom.

Now only 12 out of 180 countries, or 7%, can boast of a favorable information environment (White List).

In another 36 countries, press freedom is considered normal (Yellow List).

There are serious problems in 59 countries (Brown List).

The situation is bad in 51 countries (Red List).

Finally, in 20 countries, the situation with freedom of the press is extremely difficult (Black List).

At the very bottom of the Index are Turkmenistan (178), North Korea (179) and Eritrea (180). These countries retain absolute control over news and information. The first two countries do not report anything about cases of COVID-19, and the latter still does not explain the fate of a dozen journalists arrested 20 years ago.

The continents with the most favorable press freedom indicators remain Europe and America (North and South).

Eastern Europe and Central Asia remain in the penultimate place in their region, mainly due to events in Belarus (158th place), where there was an unprecedented repression of journalists in order to hide the scale of protests against the announced presidential election results.

Several countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have experimented with blocking the Internet entirely using software from multinationals such as Allot and Sandvine. In the Caucasus, this happened in Azerbaijan (167th place) during the fall of 2020 conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The rampant censorship of some governments was aimed at controlling information, as in Russia (150th place, -1). There, independent media outlets have come under intense pressure for months to combat false information from authorities about how the Covid-19 pandemic is progressing.

Armenia and Georgia, Azerbaijan’s neighbors, ranked 63rd and 60th respectively, among the countries of the Brown List.

The closest neighbors of Azerbaijan are Tajikistan (162), Iraq (163), Libya (164), and Egypt (166).

Azerbaijan is ahead of Saudi Arabia (171), Syria (174), and China (177).

* Published since 2002, the Press Freedom Index is the main tool for protecting journalists. This is a reflection of the situation with freedom of the media, based on an assessment of pluralism, media independence, legislation and the protection of journalists in the country. -02D-


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