By Alec Hogg
It’s not easy running a business in South Africa. But being in media, I count my blessing that the tradition of Press Freedom, instilled in 1994, remains in rude health.
The latest Press Freedom Index released yesterday by Reporters Without Borders ranks SA 25th of 180 countries. That’s an excellent score – as you can see from the image above, we’re just behind France and ahead of both the UK and Australia. The USA languished in 45th place.___STEADY_PAYWALL___
Interestingly, Africa’s Press Freedom champion is SA’s neighbour Namibia, at 22nd. Of the rest in the continent, only Cape Verde (35th) and Gambia (46th) make the top 50. Our northern neighbour Zimbabwe is 126th while to the north, Ukraine is 79th and Russia 164th.
Citizens shouldn’t underestimate the relevance of SA’s high score. Free Media and an Independent Judiciary are the two critical criteria for democracy. Remove the Court of Public Opinion or the Court of Law and society soon falls under the jackboot of autocrats.
SA has many challenges. Thankfully, for now anyway, retaining democracy is not among them.
Below is a 100-word summary of the report – you can access the full table by clicking here.
China, Vietnam, and North Korea rank at the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index, with China being the world’s largest jailer of journalists and press freedom advocates. Russia has also moved lower due to attacks on independent media outlets amid its invasion of Ukraine. The US fell three spots to 45, with recent journalist murders negatively affecting its ranking. Norway remains at the top of the list, with Ireland reaching second place. Singapore and Hong Kong improved their rankings slightly, while India and Turkey slipped into the “very bad” category. RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said that there is an increased aggressiveness towards journalists in many countries and growing animosity towards them on social media.
- FMF: Preserving freedom- Why it’s harder to regain than to keep
- Gideon Rachman: World’s democracies need to stick together, but a united front on Ukraine and China is getting harder
- The paradox of cancel culture: A feature of free expression or a threat to it?