Estonia is in 12th place among 180 countries ranked in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), up two places from last year's 14th place but still down two places from 2015's 10th.
"Estonia has been among the top ten in press freedom for years," the RSF noted in its overview. "Estonia's weakness is that it's easy to bring defamation lawsuits and journalists have not been spared. Legislative amendments adopted in 2010 made it possible for judges to jail reporters who refuse to reveal their sources for stories about serious crimes."
Norway topped the RSF's rankings this year, usurping Finland, who had been in first place for the past six years but ranked just third this year. The top five also included Sweden in second, Denmark in fourth and the Netherlands in fifth place.
At the other end of the spectrum was North Korea, who ranked last this year, as well as Eritrea, China, Syria and Turkmenistan.
Estonia moved up two places compared to its 2016 ranking. Neighbors Latvia and Lithuania, meanwhile, ranked 28th and 36th, respectively.
Press freedom is in danger or in a "very bad situation" in 72 countries, including Russia, India and China. "Attacks on journalism have become commonplace and leaders who use forceful means are on the increase," noted the report. "We have reached an era of post-truth, propaganda and opposing freedoms, especially in democracies."
RSF ranked a total of 16 countries as having the highest level of press freedom, including the Nordic countries, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Iceland, Ireland and New Zealand. European countries such as Portugal in 18th, Spain in 29th, France in 39th and the U.K. in 40th place are already considered to be a part of the second category of press freedom, however, with Italy, ranked 52nd, in the third.
Editor: Aili Vahtla