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Keys behind World Press Freedom Index rankings
newspaper editor

Keys behind World Press Freedom Index rankings

The latest world press freedom index, as before, puts the Nordic countries at the top of the table. Norway is number one among the first seven best achievers in the index. Finland, Denmark and Sweden occupy the second, third and fourth positions, followed by the Netherlands, Jamaica and Costa Rica at the fifth the sixth and the seventh positions. Reporters Sans Frontiers made their 2020 report public on Tuesday.That the Nordic countries are performing better is no accident. They are well-deserved for these prized positions. These countries do not put any barrier to the publication of newspapers or airing of news through television channels and radio stations. They rather encourage the setting up of media and their continued functioning.
In Sweden, for instance, newspapers that run on deficit are subsidised by the government. Newspapers or media which run on profit or can meet their operating costs do not care about government subsidy. This writer visited one subsidised Swedish regional newspaper based in the Southern City of Kalmar. The paper had its own printing press and a substantially large number of journalists and employees. Everything about the paper including its editorial policy and financial management were open.
Subsidy does not enslave the paper and its journalists, because its is considered an obligation of the government. This reflects the atmosphere of mutual respect on which newspapers are run in those countries. Concealing financial information to attract subsidy cannot even be imagined in the institution which is pledge bound to mirror the society.
The Nordic nations are developed. But what about Jamaica or Costa Rica? Caribbean nation Jamaica is a middle income country having a unitary parliamentary system of government like Bangladesh. It’s unemployment rate is 14 percent and poverty 24 percent. The largest Caribbean nation, Jamaica has a good education system, although the poorest section find it hard to afford education. It is the foremost among the 15 Caribbean territories from where players of the West Indies Cricket team are drawn. The high level of press freedom reflects the mutual respect and tolerance practiced in Jamaica.
The story of the Central American country of Costa Rica, having a presidential system of government, is more or less like Jamaica although the crime rate is higher in the latter. The existence of a large middle class explains the atmosphere of tolerance and freedom of press.
Bangladesh has slipped one step down the ladder to the 151st position in the World Press Freedom index. The cause of this hs been attributed to the disappearance of journalist Shafiqul Islam Kajal after publishing a critical story and a number of assaults on journalists recorded during the last one year.