US Ranked 55th in Press Freedom on World Press Freedom Day 2024

Freedom of the Press

@Can Stock Photo

New world press freedom rankings were announced on May 3rd – World Press Freedom Day. Reporters without Borders released their World Press Freedom Index for 2024

The US ranking dropped 10 points from 45th last year to 55th

While the mainstream media in the United States generally operates free from government interference, media ownership is highly concentrated, and many of the companies buying American media outlets appear to prioritize profits over public interest journalism. In a diverse global media landscape, local news has declined significantly in recent years. A growing interest in partisan media threatens objectivity, while public confidence in the media has fallen dangerously.

Reporters without Borders

No US journalist or editor can be proud of our steadily declining ranking. The US was ranked #17 in 2002 followed by a steady decline ever since. We should be embarrassed! 

According to RWB, 54 other nations have more  press freedom than the US. 

The top ranking nations are

  1. Norway 
  2. Denmark
  3. Sweden

Canada is ranked 14th, France is 21st, the UK ranks 23rd.

Russia is ranked 162nd out of 180 nations and territories. China is 172nd.

Obviously, some countries have strong traditions of protecting freedom of the press, whereas others do not consider it a priority. What’s surprising is the lack of discussion or knowledge of our ranking in the United States. 

With few exceptions, domestic news media has failed to report on the World Press Freedom Index or our nation’s declining ranking. Political representatives do not address current challenges to press freedom and political candidates for office are not advised of these issues by their campaign staff.   

Improving Our Ranking

Some legislative remedies might help to improve our ranking, including Rep. Jamie Raskin’s PRESS Act, which would provide a national shield law to protect journalists from being jailed for refusing to reveal their confidential sources/whistleblowers.

A large part of the problem is that journalists and editors spend a lot of time talking to each other about threats to press freedom, but they seldom reach out to the general public or political representatives, who are seriously uninformed about the declining state of U.S. journalism.

I maintain that it is the obligation of every reporter and editor to speak out against censorship, corporate media monopolies, prosecution of whistleblowers, arrests of journalists covering protests, or any other violations of freedom of the press. We must hold ourselves accountable and demand that our colleagues acknowledge and report on the decline of press freedom in the U.S.  

Here’s my report for the Thom Hartmann program:

Multiple conferences were organized around the globe to commemorate the 31st annual World Press Freedom Day as established by the United Nations. Check out UNESCO on Facebook or its own website for more info. 

I participated in conferences in the US discussing press freedom including an event sponsored by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

The UN-sponsored conference was held in Santiago, Chile. You can watch the proceedings here:

The National Press Club hosted a round-table discussion of press freedom issues. They also held a press briefing updating press on the cases of Journalists Austin Tice, Evan Gershkovich, and Alsu Kermasheva:

In their press release, National Press Foundation quoted former NPC board member Walter Cronkite: 

Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.

Walter Cronkite

#PressFreedom #FreePress #ThomHartmann #press #media #democracy #journalism #WorldPressFreedomDay 



  • Mark Taylor-Canfield has written for Huffington Post and is a nationally recognized journalist. He's also a gifted Seattle musician and producer. 

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