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Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the principle that communication and expression through various media, including printed and electronic
media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement for advertising ** Broadcast media, communications deliv ...
, especially
published materials
published materials
, should be considered a right to be exercised freely. Such freedom implies the absence of interference from an overreaching
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
; its preservation may be sought through
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

constitution
or other
legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...

legal
protection and security. Without respect to governmental information, any government may distinguish which materials are public or protected from disclosure to the public. State materials are protected due to either one of two reasons: the classification of information as sensitive, classified or secret, or the relevance of the information to protecting the
national interest National Interest is a rationality of governing referring to a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sover ...
. Many governments are also subject to "
sunshine laws Freedom of information Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the ...
" or
freedom of information legislation Freedom of information Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the ...
that are used to define the ambit of national interest and enable citizens to request access to government-held information. The
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through formal ...

United Nations
' 1948
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six p ...
states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers". This philosophy is usually accompanied by
legislation Legislation is the process or product of enrolling, enacting, or promulgating Promulgation is the formal proclamation or the declaration that a new statute, statutory or administrative law is enacted after its final Enactment of a bill, appro ...
ensuring various degrees of the freedom of the
scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. The usual test for a statement of fac ...

scientific
research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue. A research project may be an expa ...

research
(known as the
scientific freedom Academic freedom is a moral and legal concept expressing the conviction that the freedom of inquiry by faculty members is essential to the mission of the academy as well as the principles of academia, and that scholars should have freedom to teach ...
), the publishing, and the press. The depth to which these laws are entrenched in a country's legal system can go as far down as its
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

constitution
. The concept of
freedom of speech in London, 1974 Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state ...

freedom of speech
is often covered by the same laws as freedom of the press, thereby giving equal treatment to spoken and published expression.
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe.The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's fo ...

Sweden
was the first country in the world to adopt freedom of the press into its constitution with the ''Freedom of the Press Act'' of 1766.


Relationship to self-publishing

Freedom of the press is not construed as an absence of interference or outside entities, such as a government or religious organization, rather as a right for authors to have their works published by other people. This idea was famously summarized by the 20th century American
journalist A journalist is an individual trained to collect/gather information in form of text, audio or pictures, processes them to a news-worthy form and disseminates it to the public. The act or process mainly done by the journalist is called journalism ...

journalist
, A. J. Why, who wrote, "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one". Freedom of the press gives the printer or publisher exclusive control over what the publisher chooses to publish, including the right to refuse to print anything for any reason. If the author cannot reach a voluntary agreement with a publisher to produce the author's work, then the author must turn to
self-publishing Self The self is an individual person as the object of its own reflective consciousness. Since the ''self'' is a reference by a subject to the same subject, this reference is necessarily Subjective character of experience, subjective. The sens ...
.


Status of press freedom worldwide

Beyond legal definitions, several
non-governmental organization A non-governmental organization, or simply an NGO, is an organization that is, generally, formed independent from government. They are typically nonprofit organization, nonprofit entities, and many of them are active in humanitarianism or the ...
s use other criteria to judge the level of press freedom around the world. Some create subjective lists, while others are based on quantitative data: *
Reporters Without Borders Reporters Without Borders (french: Reporters sans frontières; RSF) is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization with the stated aim of safeguarding the right to freedom of information. It describes its advocacy as founded on ...

Reporters Without Borders
considers the number of journalists murdered, expelled or harassed, and the existence of a
state monopoly#REDIRECT State monopoly In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics) ...
on TV and radio, as well as the existence of
censorship Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information. This may be done on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient". Censorship can be conducted by governments ...

censorship
and
self-censorship Self-censorship is the act of censorship, censoring or Classified Information, classifying one's own discourse. This is done out of fear of, or deference to, the sensibilities or preferences (actual or perceived) of others and without overt pressure ...
in the media, and the overall independence of media as well as the difficulties that foreign reporters may face to rank countries in levels of press freedom. * The
Committee to Protect Journalists The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is an American independent non-profit, non-governmental organization, based in New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, m ...
(CPJ) systematically tracks the number of journalists killed and imprisoned in reprisal for their work. It says it uses the tools of
journalism Journalism is the production and distribution of report Image:Hurt Report cover page.png, 220px, Example of a front page of a report A report is a document that presents information in an organized format for a specific audience and purpose. ...

journalism
to help journalists by tracking press freedom issues through independent research, fact-finding missions, and a network of foreign correspondents, including local working journalists in countries around the world. CPJ shares information on breaking cases with other press freedom organizations worldwide through the
International Freedom of Expression Exchange IFEX, formerly International Freedom of Expression Exchange, is a global network of more than 119 independent non-governmental organisations that work at a local, national, regional, or international level to defend and promote freedom of express ...
, a global network of more than 119 free expression organizations. CPJ also tracks impunity in cases of journalist murders. CPJ staff applies strict criteria for each case; researchers independently investigate and verify the circumstances behind each death or imprisonment. *
Freedom House Freedom House is a U.S.-based, U.S. government-funded non-profit non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience a ...
studies the more general political and economic environments of each nation in order to determine whether relationships of dependence exist that limit in practice the level of press freedom that might exist in theory. Panels of experts assess the press freedom score and draft each country summary according to a weighted scoring system that analyzes the political, economic, legal and safety situation for journalists based on a 100-point scale. It then categorizes countries as having a free, party free, or not free press.


Annual report on journalists killed and Prison Census

Each year, The Committee to Protect Journalists produces a comprehensive list of all working journalists killed in relation to their employment, including profiles of each deceased journalist within an exhaustive database, and annual census of incarcerated journalists (as of midnight, December 1). The year 2017 reported record findings of jailed journalists, reaching 262. Turkey,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
and
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
account for more than half of all global journalists jailed. As per a 2019 special report by the
Committee to Protect Journalists The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is an American independent non-profit, non-governmental organization, based in New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, m ...
, approximately 25 journalists were murdered on duty in the year 2019. The figure is claimed to be the lowest since 2002, a year in which, at least 21 journalists were killed while they were reporting from the field. Meanwhile,
Reporters Without Borders Reporters Without Borders (french: Reporters sans frontières; RSF) is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization with the stated aim of safeguarding the right to freedom of information. It describes its advocacy as founded on ...

Reporters Without Borders
(RSF), reported 49 killings, the lowest since 2003 when almost 36 journalists were killed. Leading press watchdogs fear persisting danger for the life of journalists. The drop in the murder of in-field journalists came across during the "global attention on the issue of impunity in
journalist A journalist is an individual trained to collect/gather information in form of text, audio or pictures, processes them to a news-worthy form and disseminates it to the public. The act or process mainly done by the journalist is called journalism ...

journalist
murders", focusing on the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 and
Daphne Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne Caruana Galizia (''née'' Vella; 26 August 1964 – 16 October 2017) was a Maltese writer, journalist, blogger and anti-corruption activist, who reported on political events Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are ...
, a Maltese blogger in October 2017. Every year, Reporters Without Borders establish a subjective ranking of countries in terms of their freedom of the press.
Press Freedom Index The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders since 2002 based upon the organisation's own assessment of the countries' press freedom records in the previous year. It intends to re ...
list is based on responses to surveys sent to journalists that are members of partner organizations of the RWB, as well as related specialists such as researchers, jurists, and human rights activists. The survey asks questions about direct attacks on journalists and the media as well as other indirect sources of pressure against the free press, such as non-governmental groups. In 2020, the ten countries with the most press freedom are, in order:
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
,
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

Finland
,
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), hu ...

Denmark
,
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe.The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's fo ...

Sweden
,
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
,
Jamaica Jamaica (; ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or ...

Jamaica
,
Costa Rica Costa Rica (, ; ; literally "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica ( es, República de Costa Rica), is a country in Central America Central America ( es, América Central, , ''Centroamérica'' ) is a region of the Amer ...

Costa Rica
,
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
and
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
. The ten countries with the least press freedom were, in order:
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Yalu (Amnok) and Tu ...

North Korea
,
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan ( or ; tk, Türkmenistan, ), also known as Turkmenia, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basin, endorheic basins. There ar ...

Turkmenistan
,
Eritrea Eritrea ( ), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa region of East Africa, Eastern Africa, with its capital (and largest city) at Asmara. It is bordered by Ethiopia in the south, Sudan in the west, and Djibouti ...

Eritrea
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
,
Djibouti Djibouti, ar, جيبوتي ', french: link=no, Djibouti, so, Jabuuti officially the Republic of Djibouti, is a country located in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsu ...

Djibouti
,
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
,
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
,
Laos , national_anthem = "Pheng Xat Lao") , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Vientiane , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , official_languages = Lao language, Lao , recognised_languages = , languages_type = Spoken langua ...

Laos
,
Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud Isla de la Juventud (; en, Isle of Youth) is the second-largest Cuban islan ...

Cuba
and
Saudi Arabia (''Shahada'') , national_anthem = "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia, " "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia" , image_map = Saudi Arabia (orthographic projection).svg , capital = Riyadh , coordinates ...

Saudi Arabia
.


''Freedom of the Press''

''
Freedom of the Press Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associated with having free will and being w ...
'' is a yearly report by US-based non-profit organization
Freedom House Freedom House is a U.S.-based, U.S. government-funded non-profit non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience a ...
. It is known to subjectively measure the level of freedom and
editorial independence Editorial independence is the freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associ ...
that is enjoyed by the press in every nation and significant disputed territories around the world. Levels of freedom are scored on a scale from 1 (most free) to 100 (least free). Depending on the basics, the nations are then classified as "Free", "Partly Free", or "Not Free".


Democratic states

A free and independent press has been theorized to be a key mechanism of a functioning, healthy
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to cho ...

democracy
. In the absence of
censorship Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information. This may be done on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient". Censorship can be conducted by governments ...

censorship
, journalism exists as a
watchdog Watchdog or watch dog may refer to: Animals *Guard dog A guard dog or watchdog (not to be confused with an attack dog) is a dog The domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a domesticated form of wolf. Th ...
of private and government action, providing information to maintain an informed citizenry of voters. In this perspective, "government efforts to influence published or broadcasted news content, either via media control or by inducing
self-censorship Self-censorship is the act of censorship, censoring or Classified Information, classifying one's own discourse. This is done out of fear of, or deference to, the sensibilities or preferences (actual or perceived) of others and without overt pressure ...
, represent a threat to the access of important and necessary information to the public and affect the quality of democracy". An independent press "serves to increase political knowledge, participation and
voter turnout In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such ...

voter turnout
", acting as an essential driver of civic participation.


Non-democratic states

Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and ...

Turkey
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
,
Eritrea Eritrea ( ), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa region of East Africa, Eastern Africa, with its capital (and largest city) at Asmara. It is bordered by Ethiopia in the south, Sudan in the west, and Djibouti ...

Eritrea
and
Saudi Arabia (''Shahada'') , national_anthem = "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia, " "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia" , image_map = Saudi Arabia (orthographic projection).svg , capital = Riyadh , coordinates ...

Saudi Arabia
accounted for 70% of all journalists that were imprisoned in 2018. CPJ reported that "After China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the worst jailers are Eritrea, Vietnam, and Iran." According to
Reporters Without Borders Reporters Without Borders (french: Reporters sans frontières; RSF) is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization with the stated aim of safeguarding the right to freedom of information. It describes its advocacy as founded on ...

Reporters Without Borders
, more than a third of the world's people live in countries where there is no press freedom. Overwhelmingly, these people live in countries where there is no system of
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to cho ...

democracy
or where there are serious deficiencies in the democratic process. Freedom of the press is an extremely problematic problem/concept for most non-democratic systems of government since, in the modern age, strict control of
access to information Access may refer to: Companies and organizations * ACCESS (Australia), an Australian youth network * Access (credit card), a former credit card in the United Kingdom * Access Co., a Japanese software company * Access International Advisors, a hedg ...
is critical to the existence of most non-democratic governments and their associated control systems and security apparatus. To this end, most non-democratic societies employ state-run news organizations to promote the propaganda critical to maintaining an existing political power base and suppress (often very brutally, through the use of police, military, or intelligence agencies) any significant attempts by the media or individual journalists to challenge the approved "government line" on contentious issues. In such countries, journalists operating on the fringes of what is deemed to be acceptable will very often find themselves the subject of considerable intimidation by agents of the state. This can range from simple threats to their professional careers (firing, professional
blacklisting Blacklisting is the action of a group or authority, compiling a blacklist (or black list) of people, countries or other entities to be avoided or distrusted as being deemed unacceptable to those making the list. If someone is on a blacklist, t ...
) to
death threat A death threat is a threat, often made anonymously, by one person or a group of people to kill another person or group of people. These threats are often designed to intimidate victims in order to manipulate their behaviour, in which case a d ...
s,
kidnapping In criminal law Criminal law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and infl ...
,
torture Torture is the deliberate infliction of severe pain or suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. Suffering i ...

torture
, and
assassination Assassination is the act of murder, deliberately killing a prominent or important person, such as heads of state, head of government, heads of government, politicians, Monarchy, royalty, celebrity, celebrities, journalists, or CEOs. An assassin ...

assassination
. * The Lira Baysetova case in
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan ( kk, Қазақстан, Qazaqstan; russian: Казахстан, Kazakhstan), officially the Republic of Kazakhstan,; russian: Республика Казахстан, Respublika Kazakhstan, link=no) is a country located mainly in ...

Kazakhstan
. * The Georgiy R. Gongadze case in
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
* In
Nepal Nepal (; ne, नेपाल ), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal ( ne, सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल ), is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is ma ...

Nepal
,
Eritrea Eritrea ( ), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa region of East Africa, Eastern Africa, with its capital (and largest city) at Asmara. It is bordered by Ethiopia in the south, Sudan in the west, and Djibouti ...

Eritrea
, and
mainland China The term "mainland China" refers to the area directly governed by the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies ...

mainland China
, journalists may spend years in jail simply for using the "wrong" word or photo.


History


Europe

Central, Northern and Western Europe has a long tradition of freedom of speech, including freedom of the press. After World War II,
Hugh Baillie Hugh Baillie (October 23, 1890 – March 1, 1966) was an American journalist best known as the head of UP (United Press Associations United Press International (UPI) is an international news agency whose newswires, photo, news film, and a ...
, the president of
United Press United Press International (UPI) is an international news agency A news agency is an organization that gathers news News is information about current events. This may be provided through many different Media (communication), media: ...
wire service based in the U.S., promoted freedom of news dissemination. In 1944, he called for an open system of news sources and transmission, and minimum of government regulation of the news. His proposals were aired at the Geneva Conference on Freedom of Information in 1948, but were blocked by the Soviets and the French. Media freedom is a
fundamental right Fundamental rights are a group of rights that have been recognized by a high degree of protection from encroachment. These rights are specifically identified in a constitution, or have been found under due process of law. The United Nations' Sustai ...
that applies to all
member states A member state is a state that is a member of an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable set of norms and rules meant to govern the be ...
of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
and its
citizens Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and t ...
, as defined in the as well as the
European Convention on Human Rights The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR; formally the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) is an international convention to protect human rights and political freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by t ...
.Maria Poptcheva
Press freedom in the EU Legal framework and challenges
EPRS , European Parliamentary Research Service, Briefing April 2015
Within the
EU enlargement The European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of and an estimated total popula ...
process, guaranteeing media freedom is named a "key indicator of a country's readiness to become part of the EU".


United Kingdom

According to the ''
New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial published, publicatio ...
'', "Britain has a long tradition of a free, inquisitive press", but " like the United States, Britain has no constitutional guarantee of press freedom." Freedom of the press was established in Great Britain in 1695, with
Alan Rusbridger Alan Charles Rusbridger (born 29 December 1953) is a British journalist A journalist is an individual trained to collect/gather information in form of text, audio or pictures, processes them to a news-worthy form and disseminates it to the p ...

Alan Rusbridger
, former editor of ''
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer ''The Observer'' is a British newspaper published on Sun ...

The Guardian
'', stating: "When people talk about licensing journalists or newspapers the instinct should be to refer them to history. Read about how licensing of the press in Britain was abolished in 1695. Remember how the freedoms won here became a model for much of the rest of the world, and be conscious how the world still watches us to see how we protect those freedoms." Until 1694, Great Britain had an elaborate system of
licensing A license (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American English ...

licensing
; the most recent was seen in the
Licensing of the Press Act 1662 The Licensing of the Press Act 1662 was an Act of the Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the stu ...
. No publication was allowed without the accompaniment of a government-granted license. Fifty years earlier, at a time of
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
,
John Milton John Milton (9 December 16088 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the under its Council of State and later under . He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best kno ...

John Milton
wrote his
pamphlet A pamphlet is an unbound book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more te ...

pamphlet
''
Areopagitica ''Areopagitica; A speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicenc'd Printing, to the Parlament of England'' is a 1644 prose polemic A polemic () is contentious rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which ...
'' (1644). In this work Milton argued forcefully against this form of government censorship and parodied the idea, writing "when as debtors and delinquents may walk abroad without a keeper, but unoffensive books must not stir forth without a visible jailer in their title." Although at the time it did little to halt the practice of licensing, it would be viewed later a significant milestone as one of the most eloquent defenses of
press Press commonly refers to: *Pressure, or the act of pressing *Printing press, commonly called "the press" *Print media, commonly called "the press" after the printing press Press may also refer to: People * Press (surname), a family name of English ...
freedom. Milton's central argument was that the individual is capable of using reason and distinguishing right from wrong, good from bad. In order to be able to exercise this ration right, the individual must have unlimited access to the ideas of his fellow men in "a free and open encounter." From Milton's writings developed the concept of the open
marketplace of ideas The marketplace of ideas is a rationale for freedom of expression based on an analogy Analogy (from Greek language, Greek ἀναλογία, ''analogia'', "proportion", from ''ana-'' "upon, according to" lso "against", "anew"+ ''logos'' "ratio" ...
, the idea that when people argue against each other, the good arguments will prevail. One form of speech that was widely restricted in Great Britain was seditious libel, and laws were in place that made criticizing the government a crime. The king was above public criticism and statements critical of the government were forbidden, according to the English court of the Star Chamber. Truth was not a defense to seditious libel because the goal was to prevent and punish all condemnation of the government. Locke contributed to the Statute of Anne#Lapse of the Licensing Act, lapse of the Licensing Act in 1695, whereupon the press needed no license. Still, many libels were tried throughout the 18th century, until "the Society of the Bill of Rights" led by
John Horne Tooke John Horne Tooke (25 June 1736 – 18 March 1812), known as John Horne until 1782 when he added the surname of his friend William Tooke to his own, was an English clergyman, politician A politician is a person active in party politics Po ...

John Horne Tooke
and
John Wilkes John Wilkes (17 October 1725 – 26 December 1797) was a British journalist and politician, as well as a magistrate, essayist and soldier. He was first elected a Member of Parliament in 1757. In the , he fought for the right of his voters ...
organized a campaign to publish Parliamentary Debates. This culminated in three defeats of the Crown in the 1770 cases of Almon, of Miller and of Woodfall, who all had published one of the
Letters of Junius ''Letters of Junius'' (or Junius: ''Stat nominis umbra'') is a collection of private and open letters critical of the government of George III of the United Kingdom, King George III from an anonymous polemicist (Junius (writer), Junius) claimed by s ...
, and the unsuccessful arrest of
John Wheble John Wheble (2 February 1746 – 22 September 1820) was an England, English Printer (publisher), printer, author and antiquarian, antiquary. Early life and apprenticeship He was born in Gatcombe, Isle of Wight in 1746. He was twice married, leavi ...
in 1771. Thereafter the Crown was much more careful in the application of
libel Defamation (also known as calumny, vilification, libel, slander, or traducement) is the oral or written communication of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation and usually constitutes a tort A tort, in commo ...

libel
; for example, in the aftermath of the
Peterloo Massacre The Peterloo Massacre took place at St Peter's Square, Manchester, St Peter's Field, Manchester, Lancashire, England, on Monday 16 August 1819. Fifteen people died when cavalry charged into a crowd of around 60,000 people who had gathered to d ...

Peterloo Massacre
, Burdett was convicted, whereas by contrast the Junius affair was over a
satire Satire is a of the , , and s, usually in the form of and less frequently , in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, often with the intent of shaming or exposing the perceived flaws of individuals, corpora ...
and sarcasm about the non-lethal conduct and policies of government. In Britain's American colonies, the first editors discovered their readers enjoyed it when they criticized the local governor; the governors discovered they could shut down the newspapers. The most dramatic confrontation came in New York in 1734, where the governor brought
John Peter Zenger John Peter Zenger (October 26, 1697 – July 28, 1746) was a German printer and journalist in New York City. Zenger printed '' The New York Weekly Journal''. He was accused of libel in 1734 by William Cosby Brigadier-General William Cosby ( ...
to trial for criminal libel after the publication of satirical attacks. The defense lawyers argued that according to English common law, the truth was a valid defense against libel. The jury acquitted Zenger, who became the iconic American hero for freedom of the press. The result was an emerging tension between the media and the government. By the mid-1760s, there were 24 weekly newspapers in the 13 colonies, and the satirical attack on government became common features in American newspapers.
John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), also cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher, Political economy, political economist, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) and civil servant. One of the most i ...
in 1869 in his book ''
On Liberty ''On Liberty'' is a philosophical essay by the English philosopher John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), usually cited as J. S. Mill, was an List of British philosophers, English philosopher, Political economy, p ...
'' approached the problem of authority versus liberty from the viewpoint of a 19th-century
utilitarian Utilitarianism is a family of normative Normative generally means relating to an evaluative standard. Normativity is the phenomenon in human societies of designating some actions or outcomes as good or desirable or permissible and others as ba ...
: The individual has the right of expressing himself so long as he does not harm other individuals. The good society is one in which the greatest number of persons enjoy the greatest possible amount of happiness. Applying these general principles of liberty to freedom of expression, Mill states that if we silence an opinion, we may silence the truth. The individual freedom of expression is therefore essential to the well-being of society. Mill wrote: :If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and one, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. The December 1817 Trials of writer and satirist
William Hone William Hone (3 June 1780 – 8 November 1842) was an English writer, satirist and bookseller. His victorious court battle against government censorship in 1817 marked a turning point in the fight for British Freedom of the press, press fre ...
for publishing three political pamphlets is considered a landmark in the fight for a free press.


Denmark–Norway

Between September 4, 1770 and October 7, 1771 the kingdom of
Denmark–Norway Denmark–Norway (Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestr ...
had the most unrestricted freedom of press of any country in Europe. This occurred during the regime of
Johann Friedrich Struensee Johann Friedrich, Greve Struensee (5 August 1737 – 28 April 1772) was a German physician, philosopher and statesman. He became royal physician to the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark Christian VII (29 January 1749 – 13 March 1808) ...

Johann Friedrich Struensee
, whose second act was to abolish the old censorship laws. However, due to the great amount of mostly anonymous pamphlets published that was critical and often slanderous towards Struensee's own regime, he reinstated some restrictions regarding the freedom of press a year later, October 7, 1771.


Italy

After the
Italian unification The unification of Italy ( it, Unità d'Italia ), also known as the ''Risorgimento'' (, ; meaning "Resurgence"), was the 19th-century political and social movement that resulted in the Merger (politics), consolidation of List of historic stat ...

Italian unification
in 1861, the
Albertine Statute The Statuto Albertino (English language, English: ''Albertine Statute'') was the constitution granted by King Charles Albert of Sardinia to the Kingdom of Sardinia on 4 March 1848. The Statute later became the constitution of the unified Kingdom ...
of 1848 was adopted as the constitution of the
Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state that existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II en, Victor Emmanuel Mario Albert Eugene Ferdinand Thomas , house = House of Savoy, Savoy , father = Charles Albert o ...
. The Statute granted the freedom of the press with some restrictions in case of abuses and in religious matters, as stated in Article 28: After the abolition of the monarchy in 1946 and the abrogation of the Statute in 1948, the
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
of the
Republic of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a continental part, delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the hi ...
guarantees the freedom of the press, as stated in Article 21, Paragraphs 2 and 3: The Constitution allows the warrantless
confiscation Confiscation (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
of
periodicals Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial publications that appear in a new edition on a regular schedule. The most familiar example is the magazine A magazine is a periodica ...
in cases of absolute urgency, when the
Judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government i ...

Judiciary
cannot timely intervene, on the condition that a judicial validation must be obtained within 24 hours. Article 21 also gives restrictions against those publications considered offensive by
public morality {{Sex and the law Public morality refers to moral and ethical standards enforced in a society, by law or police work or social pressure, and applied to public life, to the content of the media Media may refer to: Physical means Communic ...
, as stated in Paragraph 6:


Nazi Germany (1933–1945)

In 1933 freedom of the press was suppressed in
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
by the
Reichstag Fire Decree 250px, '' Das Andere Deutschlands final issue, announcing its own prohibition (''Verbot'') by the police authorities on the basis of the Reichstag fire decree The Reichstag Fire Decree (german: Reichstagsbrandverordnung) is the common name of th ...
of President
Paul von Hindenburg Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (; abbreviated ; 2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German general and statesman who led the Imperial German Army The Imperial German Army (1871–1919), officially referred to ...

Paul von Hindenburg
, just as
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 to 1945. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, He rose to power as the leader of the Nazi Party, becoming Cha ...

Adolf Hitler
was coming to power. Hitler suppressed freedom of the press through
Joseph Goebbels Paul Joseph Goebbels (; 29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German Nazism, Nazi politician who was the ''Gauleiter'' (district leader) of Berlin, chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, and then Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment a ...
'
Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda The Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda (german: Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, RMVP or ''Propagandaministerium''), Ministry of Propaganda, was a Nazi Nazism (), officially National Socialism (ger ...
. The Ministry acted as a central control point for all media, issuing orders as to what stories could be run and what stories would be suppressed. Anyone involved in the film industry - from directors to the lowliest assistant - had to sign an oath of loyalty to the
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, ...
, due to opinion-changing power Goebbels perceived movies to have. (Goebbels himself maintained some personal control over every single film made in Nazi Europe.) Journalists who crossed the Propaganda Ministry were routinely imprisoned.


Sweden

One of the world's first freedom of the press acts was introduced in
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe.The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's fo ...

Sweden
in 1766, mainly due to
classical liberal Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism Liberalism is a Political philosophy, political and moral philosophy based on liberty, consent of the governed and equality before the law. Liberals espouse a wide a ...
member of parliament, Ostrobothnian priest,
Anders Chydenius Anders Chydenius (; 26 February 1729 – 1 February 1803) was a Finnish Lutheran priest and a member of the Swedish Riksdag, and is known as the leading classical liberal Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberali ...

Anders Chydenius
. Excepted and liable to prosecution was only vocal opposition to the
king King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contempora ...

king
and the
Church of Sweden The Church of Sweden ( sv, Svenska kyrkan) is an Evangelical Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against w ...
. The act was largely rolled back after 's coup d'état in 1772, restored after the overthrowing of his son,
Gustav IV of Sweden Gustav IV Adolf or Gustav IV Adolph (1 November 1778 – 7 February 1837) was King of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodie ...
in 1809, and fully recognized with the abolition of the king's prerogative to cancel licenses in the 1840s.


Russia

The US Secretary of State,
Mike Pompeo Michael Richard Pompeo (; born December 30, 1963) is an American politician, diplomat, businessman, and attorney who served under President Donald Trump Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American media personality and bus ...

Mike Pompeo
, criticized Russia for limiting the activities of
VOA Voice of America (VOA) is an American International broadcasting, international broadcaster. It is the largest and oldest U.S.-funded international broadcaster. VOA produces digital, TV, and radio content in 47 languages which it distributes t ...
and
Radio Free Europe Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It ...
in Russia with a governmental order demanding reviewing the subject by Moscow.


Turkey

More than 120 journalists remained in prison in
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and ...

Turkey
in 2019, making it the most prolific incarcerator of journalists in the world.


Americas


United States

The
First Amendment of the United States Constitution First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record A world record is usually the best global and most important performance that is ever recorded and officially verified in a specific skill, ...
states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


Canada

Section 2(b) of the ''
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms The ''Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms'' (french: La Charte canadienne des droits et libertés), often simply referred to as the ''Charter'' in Canada, is a bill of rights A bill of rights, sometimes called a declaration of rights ...
'' states that everyone has "the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication." The
open court principleThe open court principle requires that court proceedings presumptively be open and accessible to the public and to the media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ...
ensures the freedom of the press by requiring that court proceedings presumptively be open and accessible to the public and to the media.


Asia


Bahrain

According to Reporters without Borders, a number of reporters in Bahrain were jailed. Some were also tortured or were exiled.


Iran

According to the reports of the RSF in 2007, the freedom of Press in Iran ranked 166 among 169 states. The report reads the Iranian journalists face the "extreme harsh behavior of the Iranian regime that prevent them criticizing authorities or expressing political and social demands. After shutting down of a Ukrainian airliner, the agents of the Iranian Intelligent Service raided the houses and offices of many Iranian journalists seeking for their PCs, cell phones, books, and documents. These journalists had revealed the lies of the Iranian regime. Some of the journalists received warnings by the authorities and forced to shut down their accounts in Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Demanding promotion of the global Freedom of Media, in December 1993, UNESCO called the 3rd of April as "International day for Freedom of Media". This is while the RSF reported at least 860 journalists have been detained and imprisoned from 1979 to 2009 in Iran. On April 21, 2020
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
-based
Reporters Without Borders Reporters Without Borders (french: Reporters sans frontières; RSF) is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization with the stated aim of safeguarding the right to freedom of information. It describes its advocacy as founded on ...

Reporters Without Borders
(RSF) said in its annual press
freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associated with having free will and bein ...

freedom
rankings that the pandemic was "highlighting many crises" already casting a shadow on
press freedom Press commonly refers to: * Pressure, or the act of pressing * Printing press, commonly called "the press" * Print media, commonly called "the press" after the printing press Press may also refer to: People * Press (surname), a family name of Eng ...
, around the world, with authoritarian states including Iran suppressing details of the outbreak. RSF accused Iran—in 173rd place—of censoring major coronavirus outbreaks. On May 2, 2020, on the occasion of the 3rd of May, the International Day of Freedom of Press, in a statement, the Iranian Writer Association emphasized on the existence of censorships and violation of freedom of speech and its destructive impacts on the structure and vital foundation of the society. It reminded that during the past decades the rulers in our country, have imprisoned more than 890 journalists and reporters, some of whom have been executed. The Iranian Writer Association expressed its regret when Iran ranked 173 among 180 states due to freedom of speech. On 7 February 2020, the International Federation of Journalists in a statement condemned "raiding of Iranian Security Forces upon the houses of six Iranian journalists, holding the forces of "IRGC's Intelligence" responsible for recent pressures on the journalists. The secretary-general of the federation, Anthony Blunker, said that intimidating and threatening journalists are unpleasant tools to silence the public opinion of the administration. On November 26, 2019, the RSF condemned the pressure on families of reporters by the Iranian regime, saying Iran ranked 170 among 180 states regarding Freedom of Press in 2019. In its 2019 annual report, the Committee to Protect Journalists found at least 250 journalists in jail in relation to their work, and stated that the number of imprisoned journalists in Iran was 11, citing the crackdown on protests by the Iranian people over rising gasoline prices. The report named Eritrea, Vietnam and Iran as "the worst prisons for journalists" after China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. On September 8, 2020, Reporters Without Borders expressed concern about the continuing detention and repression of journalists in Iran, and warned for the journalists and Reporters who have been arrested for their activities and subjected to harassment. "The
Human Rights Council The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), CDH is a United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly re ...
must take more serious action to protect and defend journalists," said an official. On Monday, November 9, 2020, Ralph Nestmeyer, Vice President of the German Section of the Pen Association, referred to the repressive methods of authoritarian regimes: "Freedom of expression has declined in many parts of the world." He added that dictatorial regimes respond to any criticism with violence and imprisonment. This year the World Pen Association (Pen), will concentrate on the fate of writers in Iran, China, Turkey, Peru and Uganda.
Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international non-governmental organization A non-governmental organization, or simply an NGO, is an that is, generally, formed independent from . They are typically s, and many of them are active in or t ...
condemned the punishment of the
death penalty Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ' ...

death penalty
and demanded that it be prevented at all cost, following the December 12 execution of an Iranian dissident on vague charges. Rouhallah Zam, the founder of Telegram channel Amadnews, was allegedly detained when he was visiting Iran in October 2019. He was deported forcibly to Iran and convicted of vague national security charges, as per Human Rights Watch. Zam faced trial for his ‘activism’ after being deported to Iran. The Iranian Supreme Court confirmed his verdict on December 8 and the journalist was executed on December 12.


Palestine

In October 2019, the
Palestinian Authority The Palestinian National Authority (PA or PNA; ar, السلطة الوطنية الفلسطينية ') is the interim self-government body that exercises partial civil control over the Gaza Strip and West Bank bantustans, 167 islands in the Wes ...
blocked 59 websites, claiming that they were critical of the government. These websites were both Palestinian and Arabic, and were identified to have been publishing material that "threaten national security and civil peace." Quds News Network, among the blocked sites, stated that the move reflected the Palestinian Authority's repression of the press.


China

Critics argue that the
Communist Party A communist party is a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and part ...
in China has failed to live up to its promises about the freedom of the mainland Chinese media.
Freedom House Freedom House is a U.S.-based, U.S. government-funded non-profit non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience a ...
consistently ranks China as 'Not Free' in its annual press freedom survey, including the 2014 report. PRC journalist
He Qinglian He Qinglian () is a Chinese author and economist, most prominently known for her critical view of Chinese society and Censorship in the People's Republic of China, media controls in China. Biography She was born in Shaoyang, Hunan, China, in 195 ...

He Qinglian
says that the PRC's media are controlled by directives from the Communist Party's propaganda department, and are subjected to intense monitoring which threatens punishment for violators, rather than to pre-publication censorship. In 2008,
ITV News ''ITV News'' is the branding of news programmes on the British television network ITV (TV network), ITV. ITV has a long tradition of television news. ITN, Independent Television News (ITN) was founded to provide news bulletins for the network i ...
reporter John Ray was arrested while covering a 'Free Tibet' protest. International media coverage of Tibetan protests only a few months before the Beijing Olympics in 2008 triggered a strong reaction inside China. Chinese media practitioners took the opportunity to argue with propaganda authorities for more media freedom: one journalist asked, 'If not even Chinese journalists are allowed to report about the problems in Tibet, how can foreign journalists know about the Chinese perspective about the events?' Foreign journalists also reported that their access to certain websites, including those of human rights organizations, was restricted.
International Olympic Committee The International Olympic Committee (IOC; french: Comité international olympique, ''CIO'') is a non-governmental sports organisation based in Lausanne , neighboring_municipalities= Bottens Bottens is a municipalities of Switzerland, m ...
president
Jacques Rogge Jacques Jean Marie Rogge, Count Rogge (; ; born 2 May 1942) is a Belgian sports administrator and physician who served as the eighth President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from 2001 to 2013. In 2013, the IOC announced that Rogge ...
stated at the end of the 2008 Olympic Games that "The regulations overning foreign media freedom during the Olympicsmight not be perfect but they are a sea-change compared to the situation before. We hope that they will continue." The Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC) issued a statement during the Olympics that 'despite welcome progress in terms of accessibility and the number of press conferences within the Olympic facilities, the FCCC has been alarmed at the use of violence, intimidation and harassment outside. The club has confirmed more than 30 cases of reporting interference since the formal opening of the Olympic media centre on 25 July, and is checking at least 20 other reported incidents.' Since the Chinese state continues to exert a considerable amount of control over media, public support for domestic reporting has come as a surprise to many observers. Not much is known about the extent to which the Chinese citizenry believe the official statements of the CPC, nor about which media sources they perceive as credible and why. So far, research on the media in China has focused on the changing relationship between media outlets and the state during the reform era. Nor is much known about how China's changing media environment has affected the government's ability to persuade media audiences. Research on political trust reveals that exposure to the media correlates positively with support for the government in some instances, and negatively in others. The research has been cited as evidence that the Chinese public believes propaganda transmitted to them through the news media, but also that they disbelieve it. These contradictory results can be explained by realising that ordinary citizens consider media sources to be credible to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the extent to which media outlets have undergone reform. In 2012 the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the Chinese government to lift restrictions on media access to the region and allow independent and impartial monitors to visit and assess conditions in Tibet. The Chinese government did not change its position.


Pakistan

Article 19 of the Pakistani constitution states: "Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defense of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, commission of or incitement to an offence." Ironically, press freedom in Pakistan flourished for the first time during Musharraf's reign, a military dictatorship. To a large extent the media enjoys freedom of expression in spite of political pressure and direct bans sometimes administered by political stake holders. Political pressure on media is mostly done indirectly. One tool widely used by the government is to cut off 'unfriendly' media from governmental advertising. Using draconian laws the government has also banned or officially silenced popular television channels. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has been used to silence the broadcast media by either suspending licenses or by simply threatening to do so. In addition, media is also threatened by non-state actors involved in the current conflict. The security situation of journalists has improved and the number of journalists killed in Pakistan has also declined considerably. However, press freedom in Pakistan along with India continues to decline. In its 2018
Press Freedom Index The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders since 2002 based upon the organisation's own assessment of the countries' press freedom records in the previous year. It intends to re ...
,
Reporters Without Borders Reporters Without Borders (french: Reporters sans frontières; RSF) is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization with the stated aim of safeguarding the right to freedom of information. It describes its advocacy as founded on ...

Reporters Without Borders
ranked Pakistan number 139 out of 180 countries based on freedom of the press. The report implied considerable improvement in the freedom of press compared to the preceding years.


Malaysia

The press in Malaysia is controlled and journalists cannot have a conversation about certain things. For instance, a British reporter in Malaysia was arrested after she reported on the 1MD scandal.


Singapore

Singapore's media environment is considered to be controlled by the government.


Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia does not tolerate dissidents and it can impose penalties on such people. Saudi Arabia is also responsible for executing Saudi-American journalist, Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. As he entered a Saudi embassy in Turkey, a group of Saudi assassins got rid of him.


India

The Indian Constitution, while not mentioning the word "press", provides for ''"the right to freedom of speech and expression"'' (Article 19(1) a). However this right is subject to restrictions under sub clause, whereby this freedom can be restricted for reasons of "sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, preserving decency, preserving morality, in relation to contempt, court, defamation, or incitement to an offense". Laws such as the Official Secrets Act (India), Official Secrets Act and Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (PoTA) have been used to limit press freedom. Under PoTA, person could be detained for up to six months for being in contact with a terrorist or terrorist group. PoTA was repealed in 2006, but the Official Secrets Act 1923 continues. For the first half-century of independence, media control by the state was the major constraint on press freedom. Indira Gandhi famously stated in 1975 that All India Radio is "a Government organ, it is going to remain a Government organ..." With the liberalization starting in the 1990s, private control of media has burgeoned, leading to increasing independence and greater scrutiny of government. It ranks poorly at 142nd rank out of 180 listed countries in the
Press Freedom Index The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders since 2002 based upon the organisation's own assessment of the countries' press freedom records in the previous year. It intends to re ...
2021 released by
Reporters Without Borders Reporters Without Borders (french: Reporters sans frontières; RSF) is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization with the stated aim of safeguarding the right to freedom of information. It describes its advocacy as founded on ...

Reporters Without Borders
(RSF). Analytically India's press freedom, as could be deduced by the
Press Freedom Index The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders since 2002 based upon the organisation's own assessment of the countries' press freedom records in the previous year. It intends to re ...
, has constantly reduced since 2002, when it culminated in terms of apparent freedom, achieving a rank of 80 among the reported countries. In 2018, India's freedom of press ranking declined two placed to 138. In explaining the decline, RSF cited growing intolerance from Hindu nationalist supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the murders of journalists such as Gauri Lankesh.


Bangladesh

Media of Bangladesh, Bangladeshi media is reportedly following self-censorship due to the controversial Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act. Under this act, 25 journalists and several hundred bloggers and Facebook users are reportedly prosecuted in Bangladesh in 2017. Bangladesh ranks poorly at 146th rank out of 180 listed countries in the
Press Freedom Index The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders since 2002 based upon the organisation's own assessment of the countries' press freedom records in the previous year. It intends to re ...
2018 released by
Reporters Without Borders Reporters Without Borders (french: Reporters sans frontières; RSF) is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization with the stated aim of safeguarding the right to freedom of information. It describes its advocacy as founded on ...

Reporters Without Borders
(RWB). Bangladeshi media has faced many problems in 2018. The country's most popular online newspaper bdnews24.com was blocked for a few hours on June 18, 2018 by Bangladesh's regulatory authority. Another newspaper ''The Daily Star (Bangladesh), The Daily Star'' website was blocked for 22 hours on June 2, 2018 after it had published a report about a victim of an extrajudicial execution in the southeastern city of Cox's Bazar. During the 2018 Bangladesh road-safety protests, road-safety protests in 2018, Bangladeshi government switched off 3G and 4G mobile data and also arrested a photographer named Shahidul Alam under ICT act, after he had given an interview with Al Jazeera.


Africa


Tanzania

As of 2018, online content providers Telecommunications in Tanzania, must be licensed and pay an annual fee to the government.


Implications of new technologies

Many of the traditional means of delivering information are being slowly superseded by the increasing pace of modern technological advance. Almost every conventional mode of media and information dissemination has a modern counterpart that offers significant potential advantages to journalists seeking to maintain and enhance their freedom of speech. A few simple examples of such phenomena include: * Satellite television versus terrestrial television: Whilst terrestrial television is relatively easy to manage and manipulate, satellite television is much more difficult to control as journalistic content can easily be broadcast from other jurisdictions beyond the control of individual governments. An example of this in the Middle East is the satellite broadcaster Al Jazeera. This Arabic-language media channel operates out of Qatar, whose government is relatively liberal compared to many of its neighboring states. As such, its views and content are often problematic to a number of governments in the region and beyond. However, because of the increased affordability and miniaturisation of satellite technology (e.g. dishes and receivers) it is simply not practicable for most states to control popular access to the channel. * Internet-based publishing (e.g., blogging, social media) vs. traditional publishing: Traditional magazines and newspapers rely on physical resources (e.g., offices, printing presses) that can easily be targeted and forced to close down. Internet-based publishing systems can be run using ubiquitous and inexpensive equipment and can operate from any global jurisdiction. Nations and organisations are increasingly resorting to legal measures to take control of online publications, using national security, anti-terror measures and DMCA takedown, copyright laws to issue takedown notices and restrict opposition speech. * Internet, anonymity software and strong cryptography: In addition to Internet-based publishing, the Internet (in combination with anonymity software such as Tor (network), Tor and cryptography) allows for Source (journalism), sources to remain anonymous and sustain confidentiality while delivering information to or secure communication, securely communicating with journalists anywhere in the world in an instant (e.g. SecureDrop, WikiLeaks). * VOIP, Voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) vs. conventional telephony: Although conventional telephony systems are easily tapped and recorded, modern VOIP technology can employ low-cost strong cryptography to evade surveillance. As VOIP and similar technologies become more widespread they are likely to make the effective monitoring of journalists (and their contacts and activities) a very difficult task for governments. Naturally, governments are responding to the challenges posed by new media technologies by deploying increasingly sophisticated technology of their own (a notable example being China's attempts to impose control through a state-run internet service provider that controls access to the Internet) but it seems that this will become an increasingly difficult task as journalists continue to find new ways to exploit technology and stay one step ahead of the generally slower-moving government institutions that attempt to censor them. In May 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama signed legislation intended to promote a free press around the world, a bipartisan measure inspired by the murder in Pakistan of Daniel Pearl, the ''Wall Street Journal'' reporter, shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001. The legislation, called the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, requires the United States Department of State to expand its scrutiny of news media restrictions and intimidation as part of its annual review of human rights in each country. In 2012 the Obama Administration collected communication records from 20 separate home and office lines for Associated Press reporters over a two-month period, possibly in an effort to curtail government leaks to the press. The surveillance caused widespread condemnation by First Amendment experts and free press advocates, and led 50 major media organizations to sign and send a letter of protest to United States attorney general Eric Holder.


World ranking


World ranking 2015

On February 12, 2015, the Reporters without Borders (RSF) published its annual report. In this report, 180 states have been reviewed based on the freedom of press, independent media and also the situation of reporters and journalists. Iran is at the 173rd of this list that indicates, despite the Rouhani's promises, freedom of speeches and journalists has not been improved; the RSF concerns continue. According to the report, Iran ranked third on the list on the imprisonment of journalists.


World ranking 2016

On December 13, 2016, the Reporters without Borders (RSF) published its annual report. The report reads: 348 journalists have been detained and 52 taken hostage in Iran in 2016. Following Turkey, China, Syria,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
, and Iran have almost two-thirds of detained
journalist A journalist is an individual trained to collect/gather information in form of text, audio or pictures, processes them to a news-worthy form and disseminates it to the public. The act or process mainly done by the journalist is called journalism ...

journalist
.


World ranking 2017

Based on the 2017 annual report on RSF, Iran along with
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
,
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and ...

Turkey
,
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
, and
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
are the largest prison for reporters and media activists. The report says during 2017, among professional journalists, 50 have been killed and 326 detained; 54 reporters have been taken hostage.


World ranking 2018

The RSF in its annual report in 2018 documented deadly violence and misbehavior against reporters saying for one year 80 reporters have been killed, 348 detained, and 60 taken hostage which indicates an unprecedented hostility against media staff. This organization recognizes Iran as one of the five states which is called "prison of reporters" along with
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
,
Saudi Arabia (''Shahada'') , national_anthem = "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia, " "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia" , image_map = Saudi Arabia (orthographic projection).svg , capital = Riyadh , coordinates ...

Saudi Arabia
, Egypt, and Turkey. Based on this report Iran is ranked 144th and is still one of the greatest prisons for journalists.


World ranking 2019

On April 18, the RSF published its annual report, Indication for Free Media in the world. In this report, among 180 states,
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
was the freest and safest country in the world.
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

Finland
and
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe.The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's fo ...

Sweden
are the next. Meanwhile,
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
lost its position in the list- compare to 2018- and is among the 11 countries that suppress the freedom of the media. Iran is on the bottom of the list, ranked as the 170th state.


World ranking 2020

On April 21, the RSF in its 2020 annual report published the latest ranking of Freedom of Media. The Islamic Republic of Iran is the 173rd in the list, declining three steps compare to 2019. The three Iranian allied countries,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
, and
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Yalu (Amnok) and Tu ...

North Korea
are 174th, 177th, and 180th. This organization accuses China and Iran of censorship of news about an outbreak of coronavirus.


World ranking 2021

The World Press Freedom Index 2021, compiled by Reporters Without Borders, shows that journalism is completely blocked or severely restricted in 73 countries and restricted in 59 others. According to the report, Norway ranks first among 180 countries for the fifth year in a row. Finland is second and Sweden third. In this index, Iran is ranked 174th with a decline. Russia is also ranked 150th, China is ranked 177th, Saudi Arabia is ranked 170th, Egypt is ranked 166th and Syria is ranked 173rd.


Organizations for press freedom

* American Civil Liberties Union * Article 19 * Canadian Journalists for Free Expression *
Committee to Protect Journalists The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is an American independent non-profit, non-governmental organization, based in New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, m ...
* Electronic Frontier Foundation *
Freedom House Freedom House is a U.S.-based, U.S. government-funded non-profit non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience a ...
* Index on Censorship * Inter American Press Association *
International Freedom of Expression Exchange IFEX, formerly International Freedom of Expression Exchange, is a global network of more than 119 independent non-governmental organisations that work at a local, national, regional, or international level to defend and promote freedom of express ...
* International Press Institute * Media Legal Defence Initiative * OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media *
Reporters Without Borders Reporters Without Borders (french: Reporters sans frontières; RSF) is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization with the stated aim of safeguarding the right to freedom of information. It describes its advocacy as founded on ...

Reporters Without Borders
* Student Press Law Center * World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers * World Press Freedom Committee * Worldwide Governance Indicators


See also

* Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights * Chilling effect (term) * Declaration of Windhoek (1991) * ''Free Speech, "The People's Darling Privilege"'' * Freedom of the Press Act (1766) * Freedom of the press in the Russian Federation * Freedom of the press in the United States * Freedom of the press in Ukraine * Free speech in the media during the 2011 Libyan civil war * Gag order * Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on journalism * Journalism ethics and standards * Journaliste en danger * Journalistic standards * List of indices of freedom * Media blackout * Media independence * Media transparency * Muckraker * News embargo * New York Press Club * Photography is Not a Crime * Prior restraint * Section Two of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms * Transparency of media ownership in Europe * Tunisia Monitoring Group * Turkey's media purge after the failed July 2016 coup d'état * Virginia Declaration of Rights * World Press Freedom Day on May 3 *
Press Freedom Index The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders since 2002 based upon the organisation's own assessment of the countries' press freedom records in the previous year. It intends to re ...


References


Citations


Sources

* Gardner, Mary A. ''The Inter American Press Association: Its Fight for Freedom of the Press, 1926–1960'' (University of Texas Press, 2014) * George, Cherian. ''Freedom from the Press: Journalism and State Power in Singapore'' (2012) * Molnár, Peter, ed. ''Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Information Since the Fall of the Berlin Wall'' (Central European University Press, 2014) * Nord, Lars W., and Torbjörn Von Krogh. "The Freedom of The Press or The Fear Factor? Analysing Political Decisions and Non-Decisions in British Media Policy 1990–2012." ''Observatorio (OBS*)'' (2015) 9#1 pp. 1–16. * Stockmann, Daniela. ''Media Commercialization and Authoritarian Rule in China'' (2012) *


External links


Canadian Journalists for Free Expression

Media Freedom Navigator
Media Freedom Indices at a Glance
Risorse Etiche
Publish and translate articles of independent journalists
the ''ACTivist'' Magazine

South East Europe Media Organisation

''Banned Magazine'', the journal of censorship and secrecy.

News and Free Speech – Newspaper Index Blog

Press Freedom

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media

MANA – the Media Alliance for New Activism

International Freedom of Expression Exchange
– Monitors press freedom around the world
IPS Inter Press Service
Independent news on press freedom around the world
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Reporters Without Borders

Doha Center for Media Freedom

World Press Freedom Committee

Student Press Law Center

Union syndicale des journalistes CFDT

Mapping media freedom in Europe
{{DEFAULTSORT:Freedom Of The Press Freedom of the press, Journalism