After several years of lower ratings, Finland is again ranked near the top of the World Press Freedom Index. Finland is now in second place behind neighbouring Norway, with another neighbour, Sweden, in third. The Netherlands, which was second last year, now slides to fourth.
The annual list, issued on Thursday by the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF), evaluates the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories.
The head of RSF’s Finnish branch of the organisation, former Yle reporter Jarmo Mäkelä, says there are several reasons for Finland’s return to the top echelon of the list.
Besides good fundamental structures and a scandal-free year, he cites a positive court ruling and a clever messaging campaign during last year’s US-Russian summit in Helsinki.
Finland was ranked first in press freedom from 2010 to 2017, when it dropped to third, falling to fourth the following year.
The first drop was linked to pressure from Prime Minister Juha Sipilä regarding Yle reporting, while last year’s decline followed police confiscation of a Helsingin Sanomat reporter’s material related to her reporting on a secret military installation.