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Estonia maintains 12th place in world press freedom rankings

Map of the 2018 RSF World Press Freedom Index.
Map of the 2018 RSF World Press Freedom Index. Source:

Estonia placed 12th among 180 countries ranked by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in the 2018 edition of the annual World Press Freedom Index. Norway topped the rankings for the second year in a row, while North Korea remained in last place.

Estonia's position in the rankings remained unchanged compared to 2017, however the country's score dropped slightly from 13.55 in 2017 to 14.08.

"The media situation is generally satisfactory," the report writes about Estonia. "The media are free and independent, and Estonia is yet again riding high in the World Press Freedom Index."

The media market in Estonia is dominated by two publishers — Eesti Meedia and Ekspress Group — as well as Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR). The organization cites as a concern the fact that local media outlets that are not part of the Eesti Meedia group feel some economic pressure from municipal governments that fund media outlets linked to the large group. "More effective regulation of this market is therefore needed," RSF found.

 A new threat mentioned in the report is cyber-related.

"The 'fake news' issue has received less atttention in the past year, with concern now focused on attacks by hackers on the IT systems of the Estonian media," the report said.

Norway topped the World Press Freedom Index for the second year in a row, followed by Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland and Switzerland. Latvia, meanwhile, ranked 24th and Lithuania 36th overall. The U.S. ranked 45th, while Russia came in 148th place. North Korea was once again ranked last.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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