At an event co-sponsored by the BBG, Gallup presented data on global perceptions of media freedom, contrasting the findings with the related rankings of Freedom House…
Two-thirds of adults worldwide perceive that they live in a country with a free media environment, according to a Gallup poll of conducted in 133 countries.
The overall 65% number represents a mean of all adults polled worldwide. In terms of specific countries, Finland, Netherlands, and Australia rank tops with percentages ranging from 94% to 97%. The United States ranks 16th, with 87% saying “yes, media have a lot of freedom.”
Bottom dwellers include Belarus, Gabon, Armenia, Mauritania, The Republic of Congo, Palestinian Territories, and The Democratic Republic of Congo.
The data largely tracks with the rankings of Freedom House, which annually makes an outside assessment– ranking countries as Free, Partially Free, and Not Free with regard to the press.
There are exceptions.
A majority of adults in China and Rwanda report that they believe that media in their country has a lot of freedom, despite a Freedom House label of Not Free.
This may be due in China, for example, to portions of the press being very open, while sensitive topics are forbidden.
On the other end of the spectrum, Latvians and Lithuanians have lower perceptions of media freedom than Freedom House would give them credit for. Both are labeled as Free.
Gallup’s Cynthia English suggested a correlation between the low media freedom numbers and low trust in government institutions — both of which occur in Latvia and Lithuania.
Gallup surveyed approximately 1000 adults aged 15 and older in each country by phone or in person.
The report was delivered at an event entitled Media Freedom and Public Confidence March 28 at Gallup headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Read the complete report at Gallup.