World press freedom index: Nigeria up three places – but still in red zone


World press freedom index: Nigeria up three places – but still in red zone
For the first time in three years, Nigeria stepped up in its position on the word press freedom ranking at 119 of 180 countries—three places up from 122.
According to the index, released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Nigeria got a global score of 37.41 against its 2017 figure of 39.69
In 2017, the country recorded a fall, moving from 116 to 122 — entering the red-zone for press freedom across the world.
However, even with its improvement, the country still sits nine places in the red zone for press freedom, and this is “bad”.
The colour categories according to the report are: good (white), fairly good (yellow), problematic (orange), bad (red) and very bad (black).
Norway, Sweden and Netherlands bagged the top three positions, respectively.
North Korea was least rated, followed closely by Eritrea and Turkmenistan.
Ghana led the African countries at the 23rd position, followed by Namibia (26) and South Africa (28).
In 2017 report, RSF expressed concern about the safety of journalists in Nigeria, especially in the reportage of politics, terrorism and financial embezzlement.
“In Nigeria, it is nearly impossible to cover stories involving politics, terrorism, or financial embezzlement. Journalists are often threatened, subjected to physical violence, or denied access to information by government officials, police, and sometimes the public itself,” RSF had said.
Still in 2018, in what it described as a “disturbing trend”, it said journalists in Nigeria still encounter difficulties when “covering subjects with national security ramifications”.
“In a disturbing trend, journalists are encountering growing difficulties when covering subjects with national security ramifications,” RSF said.
“This is the case in Nigeria (119th) and Mali (115th), where journalists are often harassed by the authorities.
“They are accused of undermining troop morale when they refer to the difficulties of the security forces in combatting terrorism.
“Africa still has many news and information black holes. Press freedom is non-existent in Eritrea (second from last at 179th), Djibouti (173rd), Burundi (159th) and Somalia (168th), where four journalists were killed in terrorist attacks in 2017.
“Investigative reporting is very risky for journalists in Africa.”
The RSF index ranks 180 countries according to the level of freedom available to journalists.