Guyana rises on press freedom index

Guyana has moved up in the latest World Press Freedom Index, ranking 62 out of 180 countries surveyed.

However, although the country moved five places from 67 last year, it still ranks significantly lower than some other Caribbean countries.

The index is put together by Reporters Without Borders and ranks the performance of countries according to a range of criteria that include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate.

Based on the overall score, countries are listed as having a “Good Situation,” “Satisfactory Situation,” “Noticeable Prob-lems,” “Difficult Situation” or “Very Serious Situation.” Guyana is ranked as having “Noticeable problems.”

Leading the Caribbean on the index is Jamaica, which is ranked at 9, significantly better than its number 17 ranking last year, followed by Suriname at 29, Trinidad and Tobago at 41, Haiti at 53 and the Dominican Republic at 63.

At the top of the list, as has been the case for many years, are three Scandinavian countries: Finland, which has been in first place for five years in succession, followed by Norway and Denmark. At the other end of the scale, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, in last place, were the worst performers.

France is ranked 38th (up one place), the United States 49th (down three places), Japan 61st (down two places), Brazil 99th (up 12 places), Russia 152nd (down four places), Iran 173rd (unchanged) and China 176th (down one place). Canada, which was ranked at 18 last year, has seen its ranking vastly improved at number 8.

“The 2015 World Press Freedom Index highlights the worldwide deterioration in freedom of information in 2014. Beset by wars, the growing threat from non-state operatives, violence during demonstrations and the economic crisis, media freedom is in retreat on all five continents,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“The indicators compiled by Reporters Without Borders are incontestable. There was a drastic decline in freedom of information in 2014. Two-thirds of the 180 countries surveyed for the 2015 World Press Freedom Index performed less well than in the previous year. The annual global indicator, which measures the overall level of violations of freedom of information in 180 countries year by year, has risen to 3,719, an 8 percent increase over 2014 and almost 10 percent compared with 2013. The decline affected all continents,” it added.

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