The Netherlands scored lower this year in terms of press freedom compared to neighboring countries such as Belgium, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. This is evidenced by Reporters Without Borders’ (VZG) annual international press freedom index, which was developed this year using a modified methodology. The Netherlands ranks 28th out of a total of 180 countries.
Scandinavian countries, for example, New Zealand and Costa Rica are also better than the Netherlands in the new list. The list is headed by Norway. At the bottom are dictatorships like North Korea, but also countries like Eritrea, Iran, China, Egypt, Cuba and Vietnam.
To determine press freedom in a country, researchers consider all kinds of factors. This year they were divided into five categories. This relates, for example, to security, the legislative framework and politics.
For example, the extent to which journalists can do their work without being pressured by politicians is examined. The organization also investigates the extent to which there is censorship in a country and whether journalists can work safely, for example. The arrangement is made on the basis of a questionnaire that is given to journalists as well as to lawyers, among others.
This is not the first time that VZG has published a Press Freedom Index. In previous years, the Netherlands scored better. For example, the Netherlands took second place three times after Finland. After 2018, the Netherlands is structurally down one place every year. Last year, the Netherlands took sixth place.
The reason for the Netherlands’ drop in the new ranking is partly because the authors modified the methodology behind the index. Previous editions looked at seven categories. More weight is now given to the security category of journalists. The Netherlands scores particularly low this year in this category.
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