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Iran, Syria rank lowest for press freedom globally

May 4, 2023 at 11:59 am

MAP – 2023 World Press Freedom Index [RSF]

Syria and Iran’s media landscapes are among the most censored in the world according to the World Press Freedom Index 2023 issued by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

RSF issued its annual report yesterday, to coincide with the World Press Freedom Day, and highlighted how Syria and Iran have maintained their position among the most dangerous countries for journalists to operate.

Best for Press Freedom in the MENA (global ranking)

    • 86 – Mauritania
    • 97 – Israel
    • 105 – Qatar
    • 119 – Lebanon
    • 121 – Tunisia

According to the report, Syria ranked 175 out of 180 countries in 2023, with Iran ranking at 177 with only Vietnam, China and North Korea being classed as more oppressive.

Mauritania ranked 86th globally and first in the Arab world, Israel came second in the region followed by Qatar which ranked 105 in the world.

The index, which included 180 countries, indicated that the situation is very good in eight countries, good in 44 countries, problematic in 55 countries, difficult in 42 countries and very dangerous in 31 countries.

RSF Secretary-General, Christophe Deloire, said the index reflects severe fluctuations in the press freedom around the world, which witnessed unprecedented changes, such as Brazil’s rise by 18 ranks, and Senegal’s regression by 31 rank.

According to the RSF report, the press is still under suffocating control in the Middle East, whether at the hands of authoritarian regimes or due to censorship imposed by armed militias, noting that press freedom is considered extremely dangerous in more than half of the region’s countries.

READ: 2022 saw highest number of journalist deaths in the past four years, RSF reveals