In the new press freedom list (in practice, covering all media), Poland scored 65.64 points. This placed him in 66th position, just behind Cyprus, Mauritius and Montenegro, and just ahead of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, Kenya, Haiti and Japan
Until 2015, Poland held around 20th place in the media freedom ranking according to Reporters Without Borders. In 2013 it was the 22nd, in 2014 – the 19th, and a year later – the 18th. changes introduced by the current ruling camp in the public media.
In the following years, our country took much lower positions:
– the 47th in 2016,
– 54th in 2017,
– 58th in 2018,
– 59th in 2019,
– 62nd in 2020,
– 64th in 2021,
In Poland, media freedom is weakest in the political dimension
This year’s Reporters Without Borders developed according to revised principles, based on an assessment of media freedom in five main dimensions: political, economic, legal, social and security. Data was collected until January of this year and completed until March.
In the global ranking, Poland is definitely the lowest in the political dimension of media freedom (110th position), and only slightly higher in the security dimension (86th). However, it was ranked much higher in social (36th) and economic (40th) terms.
In a note on Poland, it was stated that the media market is diverse and public awareness of media freedom will remain low. After transforming public media into propaganda tools, the government has multiplied attempts to change the editorial line of private media and control information on sensitive topics, he said.
In the political context, it has been indicated that the state-owned Orlen in the spring of last year took over the company Polska Press, which publishes regional daily newspapers, and TVN had to deal with politicized legal regulations, drawn up with the broadcaster in mind (the note does not mention “lex TVN” and does not mention the licenses for TVN24 and TVN7, which were extended just before the expiry of the previous ones).
In the legal dimension it was noted that in September last year Journalists were banned from working in the strip on the border with Belarus (a state of emergency was imposed there for several months and since December the restrictions are effective under the amended State Border Protection Act). It was noted that in some cases the authorities have tried to undermine the right of journalists to protect their sources of information and, in the Polish legal system, insulting certain institutions is punishable by imprisonment.
In economic terms, it was noticed that public media receive funds from the state budget, and all pro-government media – advertising orders from the public sector (it was deemed opaque). It was recalled that at the beginning of last year the government proposed a tax on advertising revenues to weigh on independent media. According to Reporters Without Borders, these media can opt for subscriptions because our market is relatively large.
When it comes to social field, It was pointed out that in our polarized society, verbal attacks on journalists occur with increasing frequency. It was noted that conservative circles try to dissuade depicting subjects related to sexual minorities, and there is a risk of imprisonment for offending religious sentiments. On the other hand, it was pointed out that independent media enjoy great support from part of societywhich was evident during the demonstrations against the “lex TVN”.
To describe the security dimension, it was highlighted that there were fewer cases of violence than in 2020when their climax came during the women’s strike protest after tougher abortion regulations. It was noted that journalists covering the refugee crisis on the border with Belarus had been arrested.
A record number of countries in very bad situation
Norway consistently tops the Reporters Without Borders ranking (it was also ranked first in politics, economics and law, second in society and 11 in security). Denmark moved from fourth to second place, Sweden remained third, while Finland moved from second to fifth place.
In the Reporters Without Borders report, it was pointed out that that Moldova went from 89th to 40th, and Bulgaria – from 112th to 91st – Thanks to the change of government, which gave hope for an improvement in the situation of journalists, even if the oligarchs still own or control the media, it was noted.
Reporters Without Borders pointed out that the state of media freedom was rated very poor in a record group of countries – 28.
The last in the ranking is North Korea with 13.92 points, and the penultimate – Eritrea with 19.62 points (they have changed places compared to last year). The next positions from the bottom of the list were occupied by Iran, Turkmenistan, Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Cuba and Iraq.
Russia fell five places to 155 and Ukraine nine to 106. In terms of safety of journalists, the first country was ranked 157th and the second 165th.
The ranking was released on World Media Freedom Day. European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a Facebook entry that protecting media freedom and pluralism means protecting democracy.
– No journalist should be silenced or intimidated – she stressed. She noted that for these reasons the European Commission is preparing a European law on freedom of the media (in January this year the law was sent out for public consultation).
He #WorldPressFreedomDay 2022 Europe stands with those who speak truth to power.
No journalist should be silenced or intimidated.
Protecting media freedom and pluralism is protecting democracy.
That’s why we’re fighting frivolous lawsuits and preparing a media freedom law pic.twitter.com/aWlpGk8E3w
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) May 3, 2022