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Press freedom ranking. Poland advanced to 47th place

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Poland was ranked 47th in the latest World Press Freedom Index 2024 prepared by Reporters Without Borders. It advanced by 10 positions compared to last year. However, it is still among the “problematic” countries.

The study noted that although Poland has a diverse media landscape, public awareness of press freedom remains low. It was assessed that during the 8 years of PiS rule, public media “became a propaganda tool, and private media were subjected to various forms of pressure.” “The victory of the opposition at the end of 2023 creates an opportunity to improve the right to information,” the report stated.

As assessed, attacks on private media have now subsided, both verbal and in the form of lawsuits aimed at silencing journalists (SLAPP). It was added that public media are the subject of a fight between the new government, “introducing a fragile reform”, and institutions controlled by the previous ruling party, which want to block the changes.

The study emphasized that the previous government wanted to weaken independent media, including trying to introduce a tax on advertising revenues and directing advertisements of state-owned companies mainly to pro-government media, without any transparency. It was also found that the PiS government was introducing regulations restricting press freedom under the pretext of combating Russian influence. It was recalled that from September 2021 until the end of 2022, journalists could not move and work freely along the border with Belarus.

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It was also noted that the increasing polarization of society has resulted in an increase in the number of attacks on journalists in recent years.

In this year's report, Reporters Without Borders emphasized that the greatest threat to press freedom in the world comes from the political authorities who should guarantee this freedom.

Norway, Denmark and Sweden are in the lead

Press freedom is best in the European Union. The top three places in the ranking were taken by Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The worst performers among the EU countries were Hungary (67th place), Malta (73rd) and Greece (88th), where – it was assessed – press freedom is put to the test by the ruling parties. It added that Giorgia Meloni's Italy dropped three places in the ranking (46th).

Poland, despite advancing to 47th position, is still in the group of “problematic” countries.

The ranking compares the level of freedom enjoyed by journalists and media in 180 countries. It is published annually by Reporters Without Borders.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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