Measuring Democracy – Reports by the International Press Institute

The International Press Institute is the organization that is operating as the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists. The focus of organization work is the enhancement of professionalism and journalist standards and the media freedom. IPI has two types of reports that are annual and that cover almost all countries of the world. The first report is the Death Watch that gives data on the number of killed journalist and media professionals in individual countries and gives brief description of the way those killings happened. Their other report is the press freedom report. This report is updated annually and covers 176 countries. The report is comprised of general summary, regional overviews that are summarizing main trends for each of six regions of the world, and the country reports that are the bulk of the report. It is not very clear how the reports are made and who provides the information. From the report it can be concluded that IPI staff in Geneva makes the reports. Reports for the last five years are available on the IPI web site. Reports are descriptive and from them it is not possible to find out what was the source of information used.

Since the focus of organization is not only the media freedom, but also journalistic standards and professionalism, the reports are not only about media freedom. But the differences in the approach between the countries are visible. The reports that are dealing with countries that do not have at all, or at least do not have significant problems with media freedom, are focusing on the standard and quality of journalistic work, accessibility of information and legal framework that regulates these issues. They also tend to be critical about media behavior when they believe that professional errors have been committed. But they also deal with any problem, whether in the legal framework or in the practice that can restrict access to information or limit the space of action of journalist.

The reports that are dealing with the countries that are dealing with the countries that have problems with media freedom are oriented mainly on the issues of media freedom, and the issues of standards and professionalism are not very pronounced. The reports covering these countries are dealing with the legal framework and the restrictions that are present in it, with special focus on anti defamation laws, laws limiting access to information and laws restricting publication of information of certain type. They also record occurrence of different forms of violence and harassment against journalists, especially deaths. Sometimes they go into quite detail in presenting individual cases. Special attention is paid to violence or pressures exercised by government, like detentions, arrests and trials of journalists. Other data include information on less violent but still highly restrictive pressures on journalists and media by different institutions of the state that in large number of cases take form of financial pressures and limitations of access to printing and broadcasting resources, restrictions on the access to information and legal actions to prevent publishing of certain information. The information of governmental attempts to reduce editorial freedom of the media are also reported in this report.

Country reports give information that shows the background of the problems with the press freedom, and they give information on the magnitude of the problem. Reports also identify responsibility for restrictions and pressures, whether they come from the government or not and whether restrictions and pressures have something to do with systematic government effort to curtail the media freedom or is it the consequence of government failure to prevent it.
The reports are not made according to some standardized methodology. They do not have standard list of issues that they try to cheek, and they do not compare countries or rank them. In that regard they do look similar to AI, HRW and ICFTU reports.

The sample of countries is divided into six regions and is quite large. The following countries and regions are included: In the Americas: Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela.

In Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, China, East Timor, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.
In Australia and Oceania: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.

In Europe: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, Ukraine, Yugoslavia.

In the Middle East and North Africa: Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

In Africa: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros Islands, D. R. of Congo, Rep. of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tomé and Principé, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
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