Zimbabwe rank above Russia in World Press Freedom Index

A journalist checks the site of online newspaper Al-Ahdath News, at the company's office in downtown Khartoum on December 11, 2017. In a country where media censorship has grown over the years, Baz is among several journalists who have left newspaper jobs and launched online news journals to continue doing what he says is independent journalism. / AFP PHOTO / ASHRAF SHAZLY

In this year’s annual World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) published information revealing Russia to be in 148th place. Russia’s position in this rating has not changed for the third consecutive year.

In total, the rating consists of 180 countries. First place is taken by Norway, second by Sweden, and the Netherlands third. The 180th place is held by North Korea.

RWB reports that the countries of the former Soviet Union together with Turkey, who ranks 157th, remain world leaders for the degradation of media freedom.

“Approximately two-thirds of the countries in this zone are still around or behind the 150th place in the ranking, and the position of the majority continues to fall,” the researchers noted.

The countries within this region rank almost entirely below the 150th place mark: Tajikistan is in 149th place, Belarus dropped two positions and is now 155th, Kazakhstan is 158th, and Azerbaijan is 163rd. The index of Turkmenistan continues to deteriorate and is now in 178th place. The only notable growth in the region was shown by Uzbekistan at 165th place, having moved up four positions. According to the study, “Among the countries that are higher in the ranking, only Georgia (now 61st place, increasing by 3) and with a lesser extent Ukraine (now 101st place, increasing by 1) have improve their positions, where Armenia (80th place) and Moldova (81st place) have both decreased by one position.”

According to RWB, Europe is the safest region for media work, but this year the index of many countries is significantly lower. In particular, Malta lost 18 positions and is now in 65th place; the Czech Republic has dropped to 34th position, losing 11 points; and Serbia is now in 76th place, dropping 10 places.

The United States ranked second for journalist reliability while Mexico ranked 147th, Venezuela 143rd, Ecuador 92nd, and Canada 18th. However, the U.S. lost two positions this year and has dropped to 45th place overall.

Above Russia in score are countries such as Mauritania (72nd), Kirghizia (98th), Angola (121st), Gambia (122nd), Zimbabwe (126th), Cameroon (129th) and Cambodia (142nd).