(03 May 2013) – As the United Nations marks World Press Freedom Day, a watchdog organisation has published its annual report today showing that three EU countries – Hungary, Greece and Bulgaria – saw a dramatic decline in press freedom.
According to Freedom House, which ranks 196 countries and territories across the world, Hungary fell 16 positions and now occupies the 56th rank. The media freedom report says that the country’s “repressive legislation” impacts significantly on the way the journalistic profession is practiced.
Greece fell 14 positions and occupies the 84th rank. The report says that in this country journalists work in catastrophic social and professional conditions and are exposed to popular discontent. Media workers also face the risk of violent reprisals from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.
Bulgaria fell seven positions and now ranks 87th. The European Commission has in the past criticised the excessive media concentration in Bulgaria. The country is in the middle of an illegal eavesdropping scandal of unprecedented proportions, dubbed the ‘Bulgarian Watergate’. According to reports that started receiving confirmation, many journalists have been illegally wiretapped.
The EU country ranking the last is Romania, on 88th position. The country has, however, advanced compared to the previous year, when it occupied the 92nd position. Among the 10 countries ranking first in terms of press freedom, five are EU members. Finland ranks first, followed by the Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Andorra, Denmark, Lichtenstein, New Zealand, Iceland and Sweden. (With EurActiv)