26 October 2021, by Victoria Séveno
A report ranking press freedoms in 180 countries around the world has placed the Netherlands as number six in the world – a respectable performance, but slightly worse than the fifth-place ranking the country achieved in 2020.
2021 World Press Freedom Index
Comprised by the journalists’ association Reporters Without Borders, the World Press Freedom Index examines freedom of the press in 180 countries worldwide. By surveying a number of experts and analysing data on abuses and acts of violence against journalists, the annual report ranks each country according to how free each country is.
Each country is awarded an overall score out of 100, based on how it performs across a series of seven criteria:
- Media independence
- Environment and self-censorship
- Legislative framework
The 2021 report ranks Norway as number one in the world for the fourth year in a row, with a score of 6,72. Finland comes in second (6,99) followed by Sweden (7,24). Occupying the bottom spots are Turkmenistan (80,03), North Korea (81,28), and Eritrea (81,45).
Press freedom in the Netherlands
This year, the Netherlands dropped from fifth place into sixth, with an overall score of 9,67 out of 100. While this means the country still falls into the “Good situation” category, it is the Netherlands’ worst performance since the index’s inception in 2013, and marks the second year in a row that the country has fallen in the ranking.
On the whole, the World Press Freedom Index notes that journalists in the Netherlands were “able to work freely, enjoying the respect of much of the population as well as legislative and institutional protection.” Dutch police have also consistently stepped up measures to protect journalists from attacks.
The 2021 report highlights the fact that the Dutch government has done little to improve the accessibility of state-held information and that mass data collection by intelligence agencies “repeatedly violated the privacy of journalists.” Furthermore, a number of right-wing Dutch politicians spoke out in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, questioning the reliability and legitimacy of high-profile news outlets such as NOS, and physical attacks on journalists also increased last year.