Finland fell from second to fifth in the annual World Press index published by Reporters Without Borders on Tuesday.
Fifth place is Finland’s weakest ranking since 2007, and the Nordic countries have been consistently second in the index since 2019.
The best scores on freedom of the press were given to Norway, followed by Denmark, Sweden and Estonia.
Finland’s drop in the index is partly due to the introduction of new and revised criteria for the index, which makes it difficult to compare the indices of previous years with this year’s indices.
Finland is worse than Norway in terms of the legal framework and economic conditions, he pointed out Yrsa Grüne-LuomaChairman of the Reporters Without Borders Association.
"At least behind these investments are the accusations received by three Helsingin Sanomat journalists last autumn and the growing financial concentration of the media," Grüne-Luoma told Yle.
According to Grüne-Luoma, Finland lags far behind Norway and Denmark, but is close to the level of Sweden and Estonia.
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Increasingly fragmented media
The Press Freedom Index compares the state of press freedom in 180 countries and divides them into five categories.
This year, only eight countries got in "good" category – Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Ireland, Portugal and Costa Rica. Fewer countries achieved "good" more than ever before in the 20-year history of the index.
According to Reporters Without Borders, the polarization of the media posed a significant threat to press freedom last year. Christophe Deloirethe director general of the organization warned the so-called "Fox News template," where the media attracts audience share with extreme opinions.
"The spread of this model in the media is a death threat to democracies because it undermines the foundations of internal harmony in societies and tolerant public debate." Deloire said in an organization statement.
According to Reporters Without Borders, the spread of disinformation on social media is also accelerating the polarization of people’s opinions to extreme levels.
The organization also warned that the dangers of polarization were evident in the war in Ukraine, in which Russia used propaganda before its attack.
"The use of the media as a weapon deprives citizens of their right to information and can lead to increased tensions and, at worst, wars," said Deloire.
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Source: The Nordic Page