Christiana Stilianidou
World Press Freedom Index 2022: Greece drops to 108th place
04 • 05 • 2022

Greece has dropped to 108th in the World Press Freedom Index, ranking last among EU member states. The index defines the levels of press freedom in the country as ‘problematic,’  raising concerns not only about the freedom of the press but also about the state of the rule of law.

The World Press Freedom Index is published annually by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and is a snapshot of the level of freedom enjoyed by journalists and the media in each of the 180 countries and territories it covers.

The position in which each country/region is ranked is based on the score it obtains, which is calculated based on 2 elements: a) a quantitative tally of abuses against journalists and media outlets; b) a qualitative analysis of the answers given by press freedom specialists to an RSF questionnaire. 

Each country or territory is evaluated using five indicators that reflect press freedom levels. These are: political context, legal framework, economic context, sociocultural context and safety.

In the 2022 index, Greece has dropped to 108th place with a score of 55.52 (down from position 70 in 2021) and is ranked amongst countries where press freedom is defined as “problematic,” though only just: whilst collecting 55-70 points places a country in the ‘problematic’ zone, 40-55 points places a country in the ‘difficult’ zone. 

Whilst it should be noted that the methodology followed in 2022 differs from that used in previous years, which may make accurate comparison with previous years’ performance difficult, Greece’s position vis-à-vis other countries (and particularly in comparison with other EU countries), as well as the RSF qualitative analysis of the situation, can only raise concerns about the low levels of press freedom in the country.

(f) the amendment of article 191 of the Penal Code, making the offense of spreading false information punishable by five years of imprisonment (see more here);

(g) doubts around the objectivity of public funding of media outlets;

(h) attacks on media outlets by “far-left or far-right activists”;

(i) the frequent sexism faced by female journalists in the workplace;

(j) the fact that the police often resort to violence or arbitrary bans in order to make it difficult for journalists to cover demonstrations and issues related to the refugee crisis on the islands, and

(k) a Dutch journalist being compelled to leave Greece for her own safety (see more on that here)

The freedom of the press and the independence of the media are important elements of the rule of law. The World Press Freedom Index for 2022 provides a snapshot of the levels of press freedom globally and reflects a particularly problematic situation in Greece. The findings appear to be confirmed by the reporting on the Press Freedom Index itself in the Athens News Agency: as pointed out by an article in the newspaper Efimerida ton Syntakton, references to the index exclude any specific mention of Greece. The ruling party New Democracy has released a statement.

Christiana Stilianidou
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