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Nigeria’s press is not free, world press freedom ranking reveals

In spite of  nine years of continued democratic rule, Nigeria’s Press is not yet free, but has been described as partly free, according to the Freedom of the Press 2009 world rankings recently released by Freedom house, a US based media non profit

Freedom House’s annual media study, tagged Freedom of the Press 2009, shows that out of the 195 countries and territories covered in the study, 70 (36 percent) are rated Free, 61 (31 percent) are rated Partly Free and 64 (33 percent) are rated Not Free. This represents a modest decline from the 2008 survey in which 72 countries and territories were Free, 59 Partly Free and 64 Not Free.

 The new survey found that only 17 percent of the world’s population lives in countries that enjoy a free press.

The countries that ranked highest in the guarantee of Press freedom are Iceland-1st, Norway and Finland both share the 2nd spot.

Nigeria and Indonesia occupy the 54th position out of the 195 countries that were ranked.

Ghana, Mali, Mauritius, Cape Verde, South Africa, Namibia and Sao Tom and Principe are the only countries in Africa with a totally free Press.

Key regional findings include:

  • Asia Pacific: Cambodia dropped to Not Free status because of increased violence against journalists. Hong Kong slipped to Partly Free as Beijing exerted growing influence over media. China’s media environment remained bleak. Media in Taiwan faced assault and growing government pressure. South Asia saw improvements in the Maldives, Bangladesh and Pakistan, while Sri Lanka and Afghanistan suffered setbacks.
  • Central and Eastern Europe/Former Soviet Union: The region suffered the biggest drop in press freedom of any region, with journalists murdered in Bulgaria and Croatia and assaulted in Bosnia. Russia’s score declined with the judiciary unwilling to protect journalists from attacks, as well as the frequent targeting of independent media by regulators.
  • Middle East and North Africa: The region continues to have the world’s lowest level of press freedom. Restrictions on journalists and official attempts to influence coverage during the Gaza conflict led to Israel’s Partly Free status. The Israeli-Occupied Territories/Palestinian Authority saw declines with both Hamas and Fatah intimidating journalists. Iraq saw the security environment for journalists improve and new legal protections for media in the Kurdish areas.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: Press freedom suffered in Senegal with an increase in both legal and extralegal action taken against media. In Madagascar, media outlets critical of the government were targeted. Other declines were seen in Botswana, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Lesotho, Mauritania, South Africa and Tanzania. Comoros, Sierra Leone, Angola and Liberia improved.
  • Americas: Guyana regained its free rating, while Haiti and Uruguay saw significant improvement. However, Mexico’s score dropped again because of increased violence, the government’s unwillingness to make legal reforms, and pressure on media from local and state officials. Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Nicaragua registered major declines.
  • Western Europe: The region continues to boast the world’s highest level of press freedom. However, Italy slipped back into the Partly Free category with free speech limited by courts and libel laws, increased intimidation of journalists by organized crime and far-right groups, and concerns over the concentration of media ownership. Greece also suffered a significant decline.

 The methodology and graphics from the survey are available by contacting Laura Ingalls at or by calling +1-202-683-0909.


Full reports for select countries and territories in the study will be available in June.