Essay on Media Freedom Index Of Freedom

1564 Words Jan 4th, 2016 null Page
We analyzed the media freedom indexes of Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders to determine which areas they focus on and which they omit. We also assessed the degree to which these indexes are appropriate for measuring media freedom in democratic countries. We concluded that these instruments –with their focus on violence against journalists and government constraints on media– are more appropriate for assessments in non-democratic countries than for understanding the subtle problems of democracies, often related to the media ownership structure, media’s dependence on advertising, self-censorship, and the scant presence of citizen voices. The instruments examined reduce freedom of expression to its negative dimension: freedom from government interference, ignoring positive freedom that is the universal right to free speech.
Key words: Media freedom indexes, freedom of expression, political economy of the media, Chile, Poland

The discussion over press freedom indexes, and freedom of expression in the media in general, takes place almost completely outside academic circles. At the same time, extra-academic indexes are very influential in the public debate over the quality of democracy and freedom of expression. This article critically analyzes the methodologies to assess media freedom used by Reporters Without Borders (RWB) and Freedom House, two of the best known and internationally quoted indexes on the matter (Becker, Vlad, & Nusser, 2007; Burgess, 2010;…

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