Chile hits a new low on World Press Freedom Index

Investigative journalism is losing ground and attacks on reporters are on the rise,” asserts this year’s World Press Freedom Index. The index analyzes “the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists and the media” within their respective nations and examines and ranks 180 nations and territories from around the world. This year, Chile ranks 82nd, a new low for the nation. 

Every year Reporters Without Borders issues a World Press Freedom Index. The index evaluates political context, legal framework, economic context, socio-cultural context, and security. An average from each of these indicators is then used to give a nation a final score and rank among other nations and territories. 

This year, Chile ranks 82nd, the lowest it has ever landed on the index, and a fall from 54th last year. Chile’s highest rating was on the Political Context Index, where the nation ranked 59th. The report identified the demand for political change starting from the 2019 protests and the election of President Gabriel Boric, as having driven significant change within the country, particularly in media and journalism. 

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Chile’s lowest rating was received in the Security Index, which was defined as “the ability to design, collect and disseminate information according to the methods and ethics of journalism, without undue risk of bodily injury, psychological or emotional distress, or professional harm.” Chile ranked 115th in this context. The index states that a rise in violence from police and military intelligence services are primary sources of threat to journalists’ safety within the country. 

The report adds that current laws are “weak in protecting news professionals,” due to the minimal punishments and repercussions for attacks on journalists. The gap between the establishment of laws and policies versus them being upheld in practice was also expressed as a potential source of the problem. The report stated, “if freedom of the press is guaranteed by the Chilean Constitution and the judicial arsenal, it is not always respected in practice.” 

The report identified Norway, Denmark, and Sweden as the top three nations with freedom for journalists. The nation reported to have the least freedom for journalists and media was North Korea. Among Chile’s neighbors, Bolivia ranked 126th, Peru ranked 77th, and Argentia ranked 29th.

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