In any democracy, especially in Greece, the freedom of the press — especially the freedom to access information — is fundamental. Yet nearly half of the world’s population has no access to freely-reported news and information.
This is where Reporters Without Borders (RSF) comes in. An independent NGO based in Paris with a consultative status with the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe, it evaluates the freedom of press status in 180 countries and territories using its World Press Freedom Index (Index).
This year, it concluded that the journalism in 73 of the countries reviewed was seriously impeded — and constrained in 59 others.
Greece ranks 70th out of 180 nations regarding freedom of the press
In the EU, some of the worst performers regarding freedom of the press are Bulgaria, which is listed at a dismal 112 out of 180 total nations; Malta, at 81, and Greece, which is ranked a disturbing 70th in the Index.
“While EU leaders often pledge their support for press freedom, the on-the-ground realities for European journalists are getting more grim,” notes the website politico.eu.
The new rules for policed demonstrations are of particular concern, with the advent of specific areas now designated for the press, according to the organization.
Greece slips five places in freedom of the press rankings
Compared to the 2020 ranking, Greece had slipped five places regarding the freedom of the press, with Hungary falling three slots, Poland and Slovakia ranked down by two places, and Romania and Bulgaria by one.
The tiny nation of Croatia has risen three positions up the rankings, however.
The report states “Especially in Greece, reporters have been the victims of police violence and arbitrary arrest that have restricted coverage of law enforcement operations during demonstrations.”
It was also noted by RSF that the “conservative government led by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis granted generous tax rebates on advertising in the media but sought, directly or indirectly, to control the flow of information closely as part of its efforts to deal with both the coronavirus pandemic and the refugee crisis.”