In 2021, Ukraine dropped down one spot in the Press Freedom Index rating—from 96th to 97th place out of 180 countries. The state received an index of 32.96, and that is 0.44 points higher than last year, according to a summary by Reporters Without Borders.
Thus, over the year, the country improved the situation with freedom of speech, but the rate of improvement was lower than that of other countries that stand next to Ukraine.
According to the summary, the country has a different media landscape and the government has carried out a number of reforms since the 2014 revolution, in particular the law on transparency of media ownership. But more needs to be done to weaken the oligarchs' tight media grip, encourage editorial independence, and fight impunity for crimes of violence against journalists.
The organization also notes that the freedom of speech index was also affected by issues such as the "information war" with Russia, taking into account the ban on the use of Russian media and social networks, cyber harassment, and lawsuits in cases of treason.
"The Covid-19 pandemic did not bring any relief to threats and attacks on journalists, and it was used by local authorities as an excuse to further restrict access to information," the summary says.
Researchers also recalled the murders of investigative journalists Pavlo Sheremet, Georgiy Gongadze, and Vadym Komarov. These crimes have not yet been solved, and that encourages impunity for violence against the media. The Press Freedom Index also mentions manipulation in the news, breaches of sources confidentiality, cyber attacks, and excesses in the fight against fake news, as well as the separatist-controlled East of Ukraine that has no critical journalists and foreign observers.
Top 10 countries of the Press Freedom Index
- Norway (6.72);
- Finland (6.99);
- Sweden (7.24);
- ;Denmark (8.57);
- Costa Rica (8.76);
- Netherlands (9.67);
- Jamaica (9.96);
- New Zealand (10.04)
- Portugal (10.11)
- Switzerland (10.55).
At the same time, the last places were taken by such countries as Djibouti (78.62), China (78.72), Turkmenistan (80.03), North Korea (81.28), and Eritrea (81.45)
Context. Earlier, the European Parliament declared the need to weaken the influence of the oligarchs on the media in Ukraine, encourage editorial independence and fight impunity for crimes related to violence against journalists.