May 012017

2017 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders

For the second consecutive year, Poland continues its drop in the rankings in the Press Freedom Index, coming in at #54 of 180 countries included in the 2017 report by Reporters Without Borders.

The report cites laws passed since the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party came into power in 2015. They place public broadcasters under greater government control and restrict public advertising in independent opposition newspapers like Gazeta Wyborcza. The government also plans to announce this summer a scheme to “re-Polonize” Polish media companies by limiting the amount of foreign investment allowed in them.

The right-leaning Polish Journalists Association (SDP), meanwhile, has accused Reporters Without Borders of double standards for not criticizing PiS’ rival Platforma (PO) party when it made past shakeups to state media staff. In early 2015, when PO was in power, Poland achieved a peak position of #18 in the Press Freedom Index.

The last time Poland was ranked lower than now was in 2007, when it placed #56. At that time, Poland had some of the strictest laws in Europe against libel and defamation – for the latter, journalists could be jailed for up to two years. Journalists then were also forced to swear that they had never collaborated with the communist secret police, or else be banned from their profession for 10 years.

Poland’s 2017 ranking places it just above the northwestern African country Mauritania, which practices de facto slavery and in 2014 sentenced a blogger to death for writing an article critical of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Reporters Without Borders, founded in 1985, is a non-governmental organization based in Paris and aims to promote freedom of information and the press worldwide. Their Press Freedom Index has been released annually since 2002. The full report with more information, along with an interactive version of the above map, can be found on their website.

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  12 Responses to “Poland continues plummet in Press Freedom Index”

  1. Dear Steve, instead of spreading negative news by saying “Poland’s 2017 ranking places it just above the northwestern African country Mauritania” you could say something positive as “Poland’s 2017 ranking (54) places it just below the central European country Italy (52) which is one of the 6 founders of European Union”.
    Also you should mention that UK’s (40) and France’s (39) ranking place them well behind the African countries Ghana (26) and specially South Africa (31) with its disgraceful apartheid history ended in 1991″
    Please do not spread biased and politically influenced sensational news.

  2. Even though countries such as Germany and Sweden have great laws protecting freedom of speech, there are other forms of censorship surrounding the press in those countries. While on paper giving off an impression of very liberal and free, the press is pressured by censorship through labeling of certain sensitive topics such as criticism of refugee migration as hate speech or racist which are not legal in Germany. This gives the government of these countries an invisible hand in the conversation the press can take on, without actually taking legislative action to attain greater control on the press.

  3. UK falls further down the World Press Freedom Index
    “UK is also falling short of the mark. This year, Britain dropped two places to number 40 out of 180, far behind countries such as Jamaica, Germany, Spain and Iceland. The United States is in 48.”

  4. Poland’s 2017 ranking places it just above the northwestern African country Mauritania, which practices de facto slavery and in 2014 sentenced a blogger to death for writing an article critical of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

    Well this explains everything – silly index that has little to do with reality. Just wonder who pays these guys? anyone?

    • If only countries could be curtailed to empty statistics that would make things easier. This is a nonsense. Reality is so much deeper with colours, density, lines,
      contrast, shade, dreams, emotions and sheer bloody rage filled will.

  5. The very fact that the KP allows dissenting comments is a measure of its essentially unbiased approach. We all know that the best journalism holds those in power – not always politicians – to account.

    Poland has come a long way since the days of the repressive Communist regime which went to great (and expensive lengths) to literally drown out Western stations such as Radio Free Europe. A satire such as ‘Ucho Prezesa’ would have been unthinkable in Gomulka’s time. But PiS needs to beware of being seen as some kind of humourless monolith which squashes any dissenting views and brands anyone opposed to them – perfectly patriotic Poles with a different viewpoint – as “traitors”. That kind of rhetoric eventually backfires at the ballot box.

    • Hoffman – you peaked out at the Middletown library. Time to go back there – to a simple time before Soros’ s slave’s slave dragged you out of obscurity. You foreigners shouldn’t be allowed in Poland – Poles call for an immediate delegalization of your existence within the territory of Greater Poland..

      • For the record:

        1) The Krakow Post is independently owned and operated.
        2) The above comment was posted from California.
        3) “Delegalize” is not a word.

        But thanks for playing!

        • Stop press: Random xenophobic provocateur masquerading as Polish native fails to convince because of stupid username.

  6. Why am I not surprised by Poland’s decline in this classification?

  7. Lowest position, with PIS party at power, in press freedom ranking for last 10 years. I can only say ” biased and nonsense ranking!” Curently, the rulling party PIS is supported by about 40% max media and press. The 60% liberal media support the oposition party. Well, when the current oposition party Civic Platform was at power they exactly like PIS took over the public media and kicked out conserrvative ..independent jurnalists. Imagine Civic Platform had about 90% press and media support and at that time Poland was at the peak of the ranking…. Someone is lying or just cannot connect dots…i call him uninformed hater….or for money jurnalists and research centers ready to sell they professionalism like “p….”..add your suffix

    • Hi Stasiuk. You can read more about Reporters Without Borders’ response to this criticism of double standards here.

      The SDP accuses RSF of using double standards because it did not speak out with the same energy when many people were fired from the state media under the previous Civic Platform and Polish People’s Party (PO-PSL) coalition government.

      RSF points out that, contrary to what happened in 2009, the Polish judicial system ruled in June 2016 that public radio executive Kamil Dabrowa’s dismissal was illegal and violated the right to work. Similar court decisions in other cases are expected in the next few months.

      Also, while PO did change some of the staff of the public media in accordance with the law at the time, PiS has actually passed fairly powerful new laws to put public media under even more direct control of the governing party. This is the biggest concern of RSF and others who worry about the state of journalism in Poland.

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