The island nation has been ranked 28th out of the 180 countries which are part of the International Organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF)-compiled 2019 World Press Freedom Index.
The country has gone down three spots from being the 25th in 2018, and four spots from the 24th place in 2013, which was its record ranking.
The RSF says that despite being constitutionally granted press freedom in Cyprus, the press is often heavily influenced by commercial parties, political parties, and the Orthodox Church, among other influential factors. The most pressing of these is the concern of the intolerance of most politicians to see themselves being criticized in the press. The organization cited the example of a voluntary glossary that was prepared by two Greek Cypriot and two Turkish Cypriot authors, which drew extended criticism from almost all politicians in Greek Cyprus, the President included. Furthermore, no attempt was made to follow-up on the rape and death threats issued to the authors.
The RSF also mentioned the issue of journalists being unable to report on Cyprus’ citizenship program to the best of their ability, given the resistance they receive from authorities when they do so, along with the unfavorable state reaction to Politis’ publishing of hacked emails between the Russian prosecutor-general’s office and Cypriot prosecutor Eleni Loizidou.
Meanwhile, press freedom has declined across the world as well – a worrying trend that continues to increase as the time passes.
According to the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, 11% countries have a serious situation when it comes to press freedom, 29% are said to be difficult with journalists, while another 37% have become and are becoming increasingly problematic.
Scandinavian countries continue to dominate the rankings, with Norway being ranked first three times in a row, Finland moving up by two places to take the second place; the Netherlands, which was formerly in the 2nd is now occupying the 4th position.
The bottom of the Index consists of Turkmenistan at the 180th place going down by two places, and North Korea at 179th, having gone up one place.