On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on Tuesday, May 3, the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights expressed concern over the worsening situation affecting freedom of the press worldwide. The centre considers free access to objective information an essential attribute of a democratic society, the SITA newswire wrote.
The independent watchdog organisation Freedom House put Slovakia in 36th place in its annual world survey of press freedom released on May 2. During 2010 the watchdog assessed access to free and independent media in 196 countries. Slovakia shared 36th place with Cyprus, Lithuania and Malta. By comparison, the Czech Republic placed 26th, Poland 48th, and Hungary, strongly criticised by Freedom House, was 65th.
In 2009, Slovakia ranked 43rd together with Latvia, Surinam, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vanuatu. The regional average score for central and eastern European and the former Soviet Union did not see significant changes overall.
Of the 196 countries and territories assessed during 2010, a total of 68 (35 percent) were rated ‘free’, 65 (33 percent) were rated ‘partly free’, and 63 (32 percent) were rated ‘not free’, SITA reported, adding that the number of people with access to free and independent media had dropped to its lowest level in over a decade. The best results were observed in Finland, which was ranked 1st, closely followed by Norway and Sweden. The ten countries rated worst were: Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
4. May 2011 at 14:00