YPC Weekly Newsletter

2007


“FREEDOM HOUSE” REPORT: FIVES YEARS IN NOT FREE CATEGORY

On May 1, “Freedom House” international organization published its annual global
survey on freedom of press in 2006. The media situation was assessed by “Freedom
House” assigning a numerical score from 1 to 100 by the following categories:
free (1-30 points), partly free (31-60 points), not free (61-100) – the lower
the score, the higher the freedom. The latter was defined by three dimensions:
legal environment in which media operate; political environment – the degree
of political control over the content of news media; economic environment in
which media operate. The sum of the three dimensions yielded the cumulative
rating of the media situation in each country.

Out of 195 countries and territories 74 (38%) were rated free, while 58 (30%)
were rated partly free and 63 (32%) were rated not free. 18% of the world’s
inhabitants live in countries that enjoy free press, 39% have a partly free
press and 43% have a not free press. The list is headed by Finland and Iceland
– 9 points each, followed by Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Sweden – 11 points
each.

The Freedom House’s Executive Director Jennifer Windsor expressed concern at
the study’s findings: “Assaults on the media are inevitably followed by assaults
on other democratic institutions. The fact that press freedom is in retreat
is a deeply troubling sign that democracy itself will come under further assault
in critical parts of the world.”

The press of the three Baltic countries was recognized by “Freedom House” to
be free. Out of the other post-Soviet countries, similarly to 2004-2005, only
two – Ukraine (53 points) and Georgia (57 points) – are classed by “Freedom
House” as partly free, the rest remain not free. As compared to 2005, the situation
also remained unchanged in Moldova (65 points), Tajikistan (76) and Turkmenistan
(96), which still keeps to the last place in the “Freedom House” rating, being
followed only by North Korea (97 points). Decline was observed in the ratings
of the rest of former USSR countries: Kyrgyzstan – 67 points (versus 64 in 2005),
Azerbaijan – 75 (versus 73), Russia – 75 (versus 72), Kazakhstan – 76 (versus
75), Belarus – 89 (versus 88), Uzbekistan – 91 (versus 90).

The rating of Armenia in 2006, similarly to the previous years, did not change
– 64 points. Thus, the Armenian media for the fifth year already (since 2002)
are classed as not free by the “Freedom House”.