Press Freedom Index: Norway tops the list, North Korea hits bottom during coronavirus pandemic

Out of 180 countries, Norway is in the first place in Press Freedom Index prepared by Reporters Without Borders whereas North Korea is in the bottom of the list. Here are the details

Freedom of Speech

The list of Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders, a media watchdog, is out and in the list of United Nations recognized 180 countries, Norway is in the first place, whereas North Korea has been placed at the bottom of the list.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown the level of freedom of press enjoyed by various countries. While many countries are struggling to control the death rates and new confirmed cases, some are controlling the media against publishing accurate numbers and have claimed that there are no coornavirus cases in their country.

The Press Freedom Index positioning of countries explains which country has a neutral media and which administration tries to control the media. Accordingly, the first 10 positions have been taken by Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Switzerland, New Zealand and Portugal. The last 10 countries in the list are Cuba, Laos, Iran, Syria, Vietnam, Djibouti, China, Eitrea, Turkmenistan and North Korea.

The index is an annual evaluation of global media freedoms. It warned that the health crisis could serve as an excuse for governments "to take advantage of the fact that politics are on hold, the public is stunned and protests are out of the question, in order to impose measures that would be impossible in normal times".

Of the countries considered superpowers, the United States is in the 45th position. Reports claimed that US President Donald Trump was hostile towards some journalists and media outlets.

In 2019, the first 10 places were occupied by Norway, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, New Zealand, Jamaica, Belgium and Costa Rica. Saudi Arabia, Laos, Djibouti, Syria, Sudan, Vietnam, China, Eritrea, North Korea and Turkmenistan were in the last 10 places.

Fair coverage of happenings around the world is threatened as the countries face devastating economic crises including job cuts. In addition, weak regulation of digital technologies has led to creation of information chaos, increase in fake news, fiction, propaganda and advertising being reported as news leading to misrepresentation of content.

Even as countries battle the coronavirus pandemic, fake news is spreading as fast as the virus. People are being fed fake reports especially on coronavirus vaccine and home remedies that can 'cure' coronavirus.