Media is only partly free in Romania and other 72 countries, among which Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Moldova and Italy, shows the “Freedom of the Press 2012: A Global Survey of Media Independence” report by Freedom House.
According to the report made public by Freedom House, which analyzes the situation of the media freedom in 197 countries, in 2011, only 66 countries had free media (33,5 percent), the first places being occupied by Finland, Norway and Sweden. At the same time, 72 (36.5 percent) were rated Partly Free, and 59 (30 percent) were rated Not Free. This balance marks a shift toward the Partly Free category compared with the edition covering 2010, which featured 68 Free, 65 Partly Free, and 63 Not Free countries and territories.The analysis found that only 14.5 percent of the world’s inhabitants lived in countries with a free press, while 45 percent had a partly free press and 40.5 percent lived in not free environments. The population figures are significantly affected by two countries—China, with a Not Free status, and India, with a Partly Free status—that together account for over a third of the world’s nearly seven billion people.In the Central and Eastern Europe/Eurasia region, 7 countries (24 percent) remained classified as Free, 13 (45 percent) were rated Partly Free – among which Romania scored with 41 points, and 9 (31 percent) were rated Not Free. Several countries in the region suffered continued and significant declines. Hungary, whose score deteriorated sharply in 2010, was downgraded to Partly Free to reflect the ongoing erosion of press freedom under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Ukraine’s score fell from 56 to 59 points as a result of growing government control over the media. In Macedonia, the score moved from 48 to 54 points due to the declining legal environment, including politicized decisions by regulatory bodies and the lengthy pretrial detention of a leading opposition-oriented media owner in a politically fraught tax case. As part of that case, the country’s most popular television station and three affiliated newspapers were forced out of business in 2011.The percentage of those enjoying free media in 2011 declined by a half point to the lowest level since 1996, when Freedom House began incorporating population data into the findings of the survey. Meanwhile, the share living in Partly Free countries jumped by three percentage points, reflecting the move by populous states such as Egypt and Thailand into this category.The world’s eight worst-rated countries, with scores of between 90 and 100 points, are Belarus, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. In these states, independent media are either nonexistent or barely able to operate, the press acts as a mouthpiece for the regime, citizens’ access to unbiased information is severely limited, and dissent is crushed through imprisonment, torture, and other forms of repression.