Latvia up four places in world press freedom rankings

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Latvia ranks 24th out of 180 countries in the annual World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), up four places from 2017.

Lithuania ranked 36th (unchanged) and Estonia 12th (ranking unchanged). Norway has topped the rankings for the second year in a row, while North Korea remains in last place. 

In comparison to last year, Latvia's press freedom rating has, however, dropped slightly to 19.63 from 18.62 in 2017. The reason for this is attributed to the following reasons, noted by RSF:

"The press freedom situation in Latvia is not as favorable as in neighboring Estonia, and has continued to worsen with the spread of “fake news” of suspected Russian origin," says RSF.

The organization also expresses concern about "the many elected municipal officials who, with the declared aim of informing the public, publish “local newspapers” written by their staff that serve their interests."

"Other problems for the media include economic difficulties, inadequate and poorly distributed state aid, the lawsuits that have been brought against several journalists, and legislation that does not favor the media and their sources," RSF note. 

Published annually by RSF since 2002, the World Press Freedom Index measures the level of media freedom in 180 countries, including the level of pluralism, media independence, the environment and self-censorship, the legal framework, transparency, and the quality of the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information. It does not evaluate government policy.

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