Kuwait emerged top in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index in the Gulf Corporation Council region and 105th in the world. The WPFI is prepared by Reporters Without Borders, an international French-based NGO.
A total of 180 countries were rated with scores from 0 to 100, based on the indicators such as pluralism, transparency, media independence, environment, self-censorship, legislative framework, and infrastructure.
Qatar is placed second in the GCC region and 128th globally, followed by the UAE (internationally ranked 131), Oman (133), Bahrain (168) and Saudi Arabia (170). Though Tunisia has gone down a rank, it is placed 73 internationally and topmost in Arab countries to maintain freedom of the press and information since the 2011 Arab spring. On the rankings of other Arab countries, Comoros, Mauritania, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Morocco, South Sudan, Algeria, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, and Djibouti stood at 84, 94, 107, 129, 132, 136, 139, 146, 159, 163, 173 and 176 ranks, respectively.
Meanwhile, RSF has placed India at 142nd rank out of 180 countries. "India is one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists trying to do their job properly," RSF states. It added that the government took advantage of the coronavirus crisis last year to control news coverage by prosecuting journalists providing information contradicting the official position.
Scandinavian countries lead the list with Norway at first, Finland second and Sweden third. Denmark, Costa Rica, Netherlands, Jamaica, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland are in the top ten. China, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea are the least media-free countries.
This year's World Press Freedom Index showed that journalism is totally blocked or seriously hindered in 73 countries and constrained in 59 others, which together represent 73 per cent of the countries evaluated.
The report quoted the RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire as saying, "Journalism is the best vaccine against disinformation. Unfortunately, its production and distribution are too often blocked by political, economic, technological and, sometimes, even cultural factors."