‘Nothing new under the snow’: Belarus 157th in World Press Freedom Index

The 2016 edition of the World Press Freedom Index, which Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has published on 20 April, shows that there has been a deep and disturbing decline in respect for media freedom at both the global and regional levels.

​Nothing new under the snow in Belarus, the organization says. Our country has taken the 157th place in the Index for the fourth year in a row.

“In a bid to loosen Russia’s sway over Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime is trying to ingratiate itself with the international community and erase its image as “Europe’s last dictatorship.” But aside from the release of leading political prisoners, nothing has changed. Freelance journalists cannot get accreditation and are harassed by the judicial authorities. The information ministry has stepped up its control over print media distribution networks and the Internet, and has banned the software used to circumvent online censorship,” Reporters Without Borders says.

Read also: Belarusian journalist sews his mouth in protest

The neighbouring Russia has been up from rank 152 to rank 148. But what impresses the most is the improvement of Ukraine (107th place) which is experiencing the big gain after moving 22 positions up. Latvia,  Lithuania and Poland take the 24th, 35th and 47th places correspondingly.

Finland tops the 2016 Index while Erithrea is at the bottom of it.

Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index ranks 180 countries on indicators such as media independence, self-censorship, the rule of law, transparency and abuses.