World Press Freedom Remained Low in 2014

The percentage of the world’s population that has access to a free press worsened in 2014 as terrorism and autocratic governments intensified efforts to clamp down on  traditional and online media, according to an annual report released by Freedom House.

The results were announced April 29 at a ceremony at the Newseum.

According to Mark P. Lagon, president of Freedom House, “2014 brought great threats to press freedom on every continent.”

Peter Prichard, the Newseum’s chairman and CEO, brought attention to the dangers journalists face by acknowledging American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who in 2014 were beheaded in Syria by ISIS. Syria is the world’s most dangerous country for journalists.

“Journalists around the world take risks to pursue the truth, and then pay the ultimate price,” Prichard said.

The Newseum’s color-coordinated international map, located in the Time Warner World News Gallery, reflects the different levels of press freedom internationally as determined by the organization. Countries painted in green have a free press. Those in yellow have partial press freedom. The countries in red allow no press freedom.

In 2014, the press status in four countries changed:

  • One country — Algeria — changed from “partly free” to “not free”
  • Three countries — Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar and Ukraine — changed from “not free” to “partly free”

Worldwide, 89 countries out of the 195 assessed by Freedom House were free. Fifty five were partly free, and 51 were not free.

North Korea continues to be the worst country for press freedom. Norway and Sweden remain the best.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization based in Washington, D.C., that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world and advocates for democracy and human rights. The organization has documented media independence since 1980.

For more information on Freedom House and the survey, please visit

Related Podcast

Inside Media: State of World Press Freedom
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dana Priest moderates a panel that includes Kevin Kallaugher, a political cartoonist at The Economist and winner of the 2015 Herblock Prize for political cartooning; Thanassis Cambanis, a Middle East correspondent and author of “Once Upon a Revolution”; and Vanessa Tucker, vice president for analysis at Freedom House, an independent organization that promotes freedom around the world.

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