© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Press freedom index: Nigeria not among African countries in the top 30
Nigeria, African largest democracy failed to make the list of African countries in the top 30 of countries of the world where journalists enjoy press freedom, a report by Reporters Without Border, 2018 World Press Freedom Index has revealed.
No African country featured in the top 10 of the index– Ghana with 18.41 score placed 23 and the first in Africa, followed by Namibia in 26th position with 20.24 score while South Africa came 28 with 20.39 points.
Nigeria −despite its improvement from 2017 ranking is ranked 119th with 41.10 media abuse score underscoring the level of stifling of press freedom under the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The country’s 2018 ranking is three places better than that of last year where it placed 122.
In 2017, more than ten Nigerians, including journalists were arrested and incarcerated by the Nigerian government for their write ups and posts on social media, fueling fears that the government was clamping down on freedom of expression.
Published annually, the Index measure the level of freedom available to the media throughout the world.
Ghana, Namibia and South Africa were the only African democracies in the first 30 countries.
Ghana’s ranking is an improvement on its last index, moving three places up while Namibia slipped a place from its previous position and South Africa gained three more places from the last year ranking.
In the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, Norway with 7.63 points for underlying situation score with no press abuse top the list of 180 countries examined by the Reporters Without Border, an organization that draws the public’s attention to violations against journalists and deter leaders from persecuting independent media outlets.
Sweden, Netherland and Finland came second, third and fourth respectively on the table with 8.31, 10.01 and 10.26 underlying situation score respectively.
Norway and Sweden were the first and second in the 2017 Index, while Netherlands moved up in two places as Finland dropped by one place from its previous position.
World power, United States of America, on 45 position slipped two places from the last year ranking while India, placed 138 also dropped two places from the 2017 ranking.
North Korea was at the bottom of the Index with the most underlying situation score −87 points, followed by Eritrea and Turkmenistan with 84.24 and 84.20 points.
According to the Reporters Without Borders, freedom of information is fundamental in any democracy, but nearly half of the world’s population does not have access to freely-reported news and information.
It said the Index elicits reactions from many governments including those at the top of the Index such as Finland and Norway and those at the bottom such as North Korea and Eritrea.
“This tool enables RSF to provide information about advances and declines in respect for media freedom in 180 countries,” it said on its website
Since 2012, the questionnaire has been expanded and the number of respondents has tripled. The Index is one of the tools that the World Bank uses to evaluate a country’s respect for the rule of law.