The Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index: Independent Assessment or EU Propaganda? (Part II)

The Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index: Independent Assessment or EU Propaganda? (Part II)

Part II: The RSF Rankings

In light of the casualness with which media organizations and "human rights" groups regularly cite the Press Freedom rankings of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), one might well expect RSF's Press Freedom Index to be accompanied by a detailed report explaining how the organization established its rankings and providing a summary analysis of the situation of press freedoms of each of the 169 countries included. This would surely not be too much to expect of an organization disposing of an annual budget of nearly four million euros: much of which, as shown in Part I of this exposé, derives from public French and EU sources. Anyone looking for such a report from RSF, however, will be disappointed. The RSF Press Freedom Index is merely accompanied by a seven-page press release. Four of the seven pages, however, are taken up by a reproduction in tabular form of the index itself. This leaves RSF's discursive presentation of its results topping out at all of two-and-a-half pages or some 1373 words (in the English version): less than half the length of the present article.

A heading on the Web page for the RSF index promising "Evaluation by region" gives one hope for finding something more to chew on. The heading is followed by links for "Americas," "Asia," "Africa," "Europe" and "Middle East." Anyone clicking on those links, however, will discover that they lead to exactly the same 1373-word press release, with merely the subtitles changed! A more brazen expression of RSF's disinterest in providing a detailed justification for its rankings would hardly be possible.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review