Latvia ranks 12th in World Press Freedom Index

Latvia has climbed four places in the 2024 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) May 3.

Last year, Latvia ranked 16th, and in the latest survey it takes 12th place between Luxembourg (11th) and neighboring Lithuania (13th). Estonia ranks sixth, while Norway, Denmark and Sweden are the highest-ranked countries.

Latvia's performance has improved in almost all indicators of the Index (political, legislative, economic, sociocultural) , except for the security indicator.

With regard to Latvia, an accompanying report said that "Latvian journalists work in a fairly free and safe environment, but access to reliable and pluralistic information, especially by the Russian-speaking population, is a real problem."

"Latvian media enjoy independence, and investigative and analytical journalism thrives, allowing the media to hold politicians accountable. Although state-held information is generally accessible, transparency has suffered from restrictions due to Russia’s war in Ukraine. The media regulator has been accused of lacking independence from the government," says the report.  "The legal framework guarantees freedom of the press, confidentiality of journalistic sources and access to public information. Journalists are not subject to censorship."

"Media generally operate in Latvian and Russian. However, the pressure on the Russian-language Latvian press is increasing due to the war in Ukraine. Due to the revocation of broadcasting licences, the Russian-speaking population is left with fewer choices, and their access to information poses a real problem. Since the war in Ukraine, the circulation of fake news has increased and the overall trust in the media has declined," the report indicates.

In a wider context, RSF explains that freedom of the press is under threat around the world from those who should be its guarantors - the political authorities. This conclusion is based on the fact that, of the five indicators used to compile the ranking, the political indicator is the one that has declined the most, recording a global average drop of 7.6 points.

RSF says that more and more governments and political institutions around the world are failing in their role to ensure the best possible environment for journalism and the public's right to reliable, independent and diverse news and information. RSF sees a worrying decline in support for and respect for media autonomy and an increase in pressure from state or other political actors. 

Latvian President Edgars Rinkēvičs posted a support message for press freedom on X.


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