Jamaica moves up to sixth on world press freedom index
Jamaica has moved up two places to sixth on the 2018 world press freedom index released by the France-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Tuesday night.
It’s highest ranking for a Caribbean country since 2002 when the index was introduced.
The index gauges press freedom in 180 countries around the world.
"Jamaica ranks among the countries that most respect freedom of information," read a section of the 2018 report.
"The very occasional physical attacks on journalists must be offset against this, but no serious act of violence or threat to media freedom has been reported since February 2009, a month that saw two cases of abuse of authority by the Kingston police."
The report noted too that the law decriminalising defamation passed by the House of Representatives in 2013 was a step in the right direction.
Another notable change this year is the decline recorded by the United States which has fallen from 43rd to 45th, continuing its downward trend in the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency.
In contrast, its northern neighbour, Canada, gained four places due to steps taken to safeguard the confidentiality of journalists’ sources.
"In 2017, the 45th President of the United States helped sink the country to 45th place by labelling the press an ‘enemy of the American people’ in a series of verbal attacks toward journalists, attempts to block White House access to multiple media outlets, routine use of the term ‘fake news’ in retaliation for critical reporting, and calling for media outlets’ broadcasting licenses to be revoked,” said a Reporters Without Borders spokesperson in a statement Tuesday night.
Top 10 countries - 2018 World Press Freedom Index
8. New Zealand
10. Costa Rica
See full ranking at www.rsf.org
How Jamaica measured up over the years
2002 - Not applicable
2003 – 21st
2004 – 24th
2005 – 34th
2006 – 23rd
2007 – 27th
2008 – 21st
2009 – 23rd
2010 – 25th
2011/12 – 16th
2013 – 13th
2014 – 17th
2015 – 9th
2016 – 10th
2017 – 8th
2018 – 6th
About the Index
Published annually by RSF since 2002, the World Press Freedom Index measures the level of media freedom in 180 countries, including the level of pluralism, media independence, the environment and self-censorship, the legal framework, transparency, and the quality of the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information. It does not evaluate government policy.
How the ranking is done
The global indicator and the regional indicators are calculated on the basis of the scores assigned to each country. These country scores are calculated from answers to a questionnaire in 20 languages that are completed by experts around the world, supported by a qualitative analysis.