Perspectives April 29, 2015
Global Decline in Press Freedom Masks Regional Differences
By Tyler Roylance, Staff Editor
and Bret Nelson, Program Officer for Freedom of the Press
Conditions for the media grew worse in most parts of the world last year, but it is important to remember that each region was falling from a very different height.
According to the findings of Freedom of the Press 2015, the latest edition of Freedom House’s annual assessment of media environments around the world, five out of six regions experienced declines in their average scores for 2014, and the global average score fell to its lowest level since 1999.
However, 82 percent of the population in the worst-performing region, Eurasia, lived in media environments ranked as Not Free, compared with only 13 percent in the best-performing region, Europe. (Just one country in Europe, Turkey, is designated Not Free.)
The six regions have also followed different trajectories over the past five years, as illustrated in the graphs below. While some parts of the world have been in steady decline, others have taken sharp turns in response to major events. And like the global average, each regional average obscures sometimes contradictory trends in individual countries and territories.