Finland has been ranked first in the World Press Freedom Index 2010 compiled by the Reporters Without Borders, a position it also held in 2009. Covering 178 countries, the index measures the violations of press freedom in the world. It reflects the degree of freedom that journalists and news organisations enjoy in each country, and the efforts made by the authorities to protect them from judicial abuse.
To compile the index, Reporters Without Borders prepared a questionnaire with 43 criteria that assess the state of press freedom in each country. It includes every kind of physical violation directly affecting journalists and the news media, as well as censorship, confiscation of newspaper issues, searches and harassment. The index also measures the level of self-censorship in each country and the ability of the media to investigate and criticise. Financial pressure, which is increasingly common, is also assessed and incorporated into the final score.
The questionnaire takes account of the legal framework for the media, including penalties for press offences, the existence of a state monopoly for certain kinds of media and how the media are regulated, and the level of independence of the public media. It also reflects violations of the free flow of information on the Internet.
Source: Reporters Without Borders