The release of the rankings aims to mark the World Press Freedom Day on the THIRD of MAY, a date on which the global community celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom.
The SEYCHELLES News Agency, SNA, says the latest ranking shows the INDIAN Ocean island country has moved TWO places up from last year.
It quotes an official of the ASSOCIATION OF MEDIA PRACTITIONERS SEYCHELLES as saying the ranking shows the country has made some remarkable improvement in terms of free press and dissemination of information.
BARBARA COOPOOSAMY says progress has come in different forms like changes in the TWO key media houses, the SEYCHELLES Broadcasting Corporation, SBC, and the SEYCHELLES NATION, NISA.
She says a board set up for both entities has led to transformation in the composition and the way information is presented to the public, while other independent news outlets have also played a good role in improving the ranking.
However, SEYCHELLES Media Commission Chief Executive Officer IBRAHIM AFIF also says the ranking is showing progress; but he is not happy about it.
The REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS study says the size and remoteness of the 115-island archipelago in the western INDIAN Ocean limit advertising revenue and job opportunities for journalists.
It says as a result, the general interest media practise a degree of self-censorship in order to avoid endangering their earnings from advertising.
Mr AFIF says SEYCHELLES has no laws prohibiting access to and distribution of information.
His Commission is lobbying the State to decriminalise defamation laws to attract a better ranking in the future.
The REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS report says although SEYCHELLES has strict defamation laws, they have not been used for years – and there are few reports of abuses against journalists.
THREE EUROPEAN countries, NORWAY, SWEDEN and NETHERLANDS, are at the top of the Press Freedom Index; while GHANA, the top-ranking AFRICAN country, is 23RD and NORTH KOREA is at the bottom globally.
The yearly international survey covers about 180 countries and classifies the degree of freedom that journalists, news groups and internet users have in each country, and the efforts by authorities to respect the freedom./Sabanews/cam