The World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and assessing the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories, shows that Tajikistan improved its press freedom ranking from 162th in 2021 to 152th in 2022, although its global score decreased from 44.48 to 40.26.

The report notes that Government pressure has forced many independent media to shut down and has driven dozens of journalists into exile. Only one-third of the population enjoys internet access.  The quasi-permanent blocking of major news sites and social networks has pushed many Tajik media to establish their operations outside the country.  Foreign journalists reportedly work under threat of their accreditation being cancelled, if not simply rejected.

Many obstacles stand in the way of economic development of the media sector in he country. These include legal and bureaucratic barriers, heavy taxes, an under-developed advertising market, and surprise inspections by regulatory authorities.  Added to these are low salaries that push experienced journalists into other careers.  Private media reportedly receive no public subsidies, although a provision of the press law explicitly allows this.

The report says journalists have no role to play in resolving the country’s social, economic and political problems, because the government does not respond to their work nor answer their questions.

The trio of Nordic countries at the top of the Index – Norway, Denmark and Sweden – continues to serve as a democratic model where freedom of expression flourishes.  

The world’s 10 worst countries for press freedom include Myanmar (176th), China, Turkmenistan (177th), Iran (178th), Eritrea (179th) and North Korea (180th).

Meanwhile, the 20th World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reveals a two-fold increase in polarization amplified by information chaos – that is, media polarization fueling divisions within countries, as well as polarization between countries at the international level.

The 2022 edition of the World Press Freedom Index highlights the disastrous effects of news and information chaos – the effects of a globalized and unregulated online information space that encourages fake news and propaganda.

World Press Freedom Day is observed every year on May 3.  The World Press Freedom Index highlights the degree of freedom that journalists and news organizations have in each country.