Poland in the top twenty
Once again, Poland has improved its place in a world ranking of freedom of the press. In 2014 it was ranked 19th out of 180 countries, while in 2013 it was ranked 22nd and 24th in 2012. The worst ranking was in 2007, with Poland in 56th place. The rankings are published by Reporters Without Borders, an international NGO which promotes and monitors the right to freedom of the media around the world.
Among the countries of East-Central Europe, only Estonia (11th
place) and the Czech Republic (13th
place) were ranked higher than Poland. Much further down on the list is Hungary (64th
place), where since 2010 the law allows media regulators to impose severe penalties on publications which are critical towards the government (“unbalanced” publications). Hungary’s ranking by Reporters WithoutBorders has fallen 41 places over the past three years. Behind them in 100th
place and the lowest ranked among EU nations is Bulgaria, where the authorities have been using force against reporters who report on the anti-government demonstrations going on for the past several months.
As in the previous year, the 2014 rankings are led by Finland, the Netherlandsand Norway, while Eritrea, North Korea and Turkmenistan are at the bottom. Germany is in 14th
place, Great Britain in 33rd
, the USA in 46th
, France in 39th
, and Russia in 148th
. The considerable fall in rank of the USA (by 14 places) and Great Britain (by 3) was caused by the fight with sources of leaks to the media following disclosure of illegal wiretapping by Edward Snowden.
The Press Freedom Index is based on responses to questionnaires sent to over 100 journalists from around the world who are members of partner organizations of Reporters WithoutBorders, as well as to researchers, lawyers and human rights defenders. The questionnaire includes questions on attacks on reporters and pressure put on the media.
In May 2013, Reporters WithoutBorders issued a statement criticizing Sławomir Nowak for the 30 million zloty in compensation demanded by the former minister of transport from the weekly “Wprost” for their description of his contacts with businessmen who often won tender processes.