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The fight for freedom of opinion


DW makes education a priority – in all respects. Our DW Akademie has been trusted with the task of providing training to media professionals worldwide – especially in countries or areas where this proves to be difficult. DW Akademie is publishing as well – with research and reports dealing with the most pressing media issues. The first of a new series is online now: Media Freedom Indices. What They Tell Us – And What They Don’t.

Every year organizations such as Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House publish their respective press freedom rankings. They usually cause an outcry, especially from countries low on the list. While politicians hotly defend their media policies, opposition parties and NGOs seize the opportunity to criticize the government’s approach.

Media researcher Laura Schneider uses data as well as interviews with experts to examine the methodology used in each of the five best known press freedom indices. She takes a closer look at the organizations doing the ranking as well as how they conduct their respective ratings. Schneider also investigates the advantages and disadvantages of each index and points to aspects which could be improved.While press freedom rankings determine national and international media policies, it is not always clear as to how objective these rankings really are.

Schneider’s biggest criticism is that the ratings aren’t objective, often being carried out by a handful of academics or media experts who are mostly from western countries. This inevitably results in a bias, especially as the majority of the ranking organizations fail to state their exact definition of media freedom.

Download the report here.


2014-07-18 | 12:41



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