Nordic countries top the Press Freedom Index

Press conference at a Nordic Council session.
Press conference at a Nordic Council session. Photo: Gwenael Akira Helmsda/

Three Nordic countries — Norway, Sweden and Denmark — are in the first three places of the World Press Freedom Index 2024. They are followed by the Netherlands in fourth place and Finland in fifth. European countries dominate the first ten seats. The index is compiled annualy by Reporters without borders on 3 May, World Press Freedom Day.

The fifth country in the Nordic family, Iceland, is only in 18th place. Media “ is threatened by political and economic interests, especially from the fishing industry, the country’s main economic sector,” according to Reporters without borders.

Press conference at a Nordic Council session.

Journalism under pressure

Other western countries such as France (219, the UK (23) and the USA (55) are relatively low on the Index.

Russia is close to the bottom (162). According to Reporters without borders almost all independent media have been banned, blocked and/or declared “foreign agents” since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and all others are subject to military censorship.

Journalists in action.
Journalists in action. Photo: Michael Fousert(Unsplash

Ukraine, however, jumps up 18 places to 61st due to improvements in both its security indicator – fewer journalists killed – and its political one.

Israel is relatively stable at 101. However, Reporters without borders say pressure on journalists in Israel has increased after it launched the war in Gaza on 7 October 2023,

and point out that  more than 100 journalists in the Palestinian enclave have been killed.  “Disinformation campaigns and oppressive laws have multiplied in Israel since then.”

Focus on the environment

World Press Freedom Day 2024 is dedicated to the importance of journalism and freedom of expression in the context of the current global environmental crisis. Between May 2 and 4, Chile and UNESCO host the 31st World Press Freedom Day Conference.