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How Free is Australia's Press?

Emily Williamson

Australia's Press Freedom Ranks Worse Than You'd Think Every year the World Press Freedom Index is released by the not-for-profit organisation Reporters Without Borders. This index measures the level of press freedom in 180 countries by assessing the degree of freedom journalists and news organisations have to report information, and the willingness of authorities to respect and protect this freedom.

The countries are scored by the number of views represented in their media; how much the media can function independently of the authorities; the environment in which journalists work; the quality of legislative framework protecting journalists; transparency of institutions; and the quality of infrastructure that supports news and information production.

Some countries that have rated worse on the list this year include Guatemala and Paraguay, where attacks on media have doubled and resulted in the murder of four journalists.

There are, of course, nations that specifically come to mind whenever we think of governments restricting press freedom. North Korea,for example, has maintained an unenviable position near the bottom of the index for its tactics of restricting and controlling all information coming in and going out of the country. The governments of Syria and China have also maintained similar positions for their restriction and control of press freedom and information dissemination.

Another nation that has scored a worse ranking in this year’s index compared to last year is Australia. Since the first press freedom index in 2002, Australia has moved up and down the list significantly. In 2002, Australia was at its best ever ranking of twelve; however, just two years later in 2004 it reached its worst ranking of forty-one. Since then it has been gradually improving, although the most recent index reveals Australia’s twenty-eighth position ranks it worse than its 2013 ranking of twenty-six.

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The 3rd edition of AM-UNITY magazine is out now! Just click on the magazine cover on the left to view our latest edition - in it we explore...

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