The UK just scored lower than Ghana in this vital test of democracy

Support us and go ad-free

The UK has scored 38th in the 2016 world press freedom index, lower than Ghana, Tonga and Belize. A free press is a part of the foundation of any meaningful democracy. Without a press free to inform the public, the public’s ability to engage in political decisions is severely limited.

Reporters Without Borders base their annual report on the following:

  1. Pluralism (the degree to which opinions are represented in the media)
  2. Media Independence (the degree to which the media are able to function independently of sources of political, governmental, business and religious influence)
  3. Self-censorship
  4. Legislative Framework
  5. Transparency
  6. Infrastructure
  7. Abuses (acts of abuse and violence against journalists and media)

Ireland ranked 9th, Germany 16th and Belgium 13th. And the European section of the organisation’s website reads:

The continent that respects media freedom most seemed to be on a downhill course.

Media ownership by conglomerates with a wide range of business interests has long posed a threat to journalistic independence, but the threat is growing and is endangering the European model.

Perhaps the UK ranks below its European counterparts because of a lack of plurality. A YouGov study found that British people perceive their press to be ‘the most right-wing in Europe’.

Correspondingly, Rupert Murdoch’s News UK controls one-third of our national newspapers – 70% of which are owned by just three companies.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
Reporters Without Borders writes that ‘national security grounds’ damage the UK’s press freedom:

Terrorist attacks have led to the adoption of draconian security legislation. The government reacted to the London public transport bombings in 2005 with a Terrorism Act the following year that restricts freedom of expression. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) adopted in 2000 allows the authorities to obtain the phone records of journalists in cases of threats to national security. Worse still, despite a law protecting the confidentiality of sources, the police have since 1984 been able to ask the courts to order media outlets to hand over unpublished journalistic source material “in the interests of justice.”

The organisation cites anti-terror legislation and police powers as contributing reasons for ranking the UK all the way down at 38th, a drop from the 33rd position it held in 2014.

Considering we are the fifth largest economy, we are in a position to build a society with a free press. Yet we rank lower than developing countries on an independent report. This is a strong indictment of a government passing draconian legislation while failing to curtail media monopolies. And a free press is vital to democracy: without a properly informed public the word is meaningless.

Get involved!

Check out the Media Reform Coalition.

Write to your MP, asking their view on media monopolies.

Featured image via Red Rose Exile.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed