FIJI is ranked 120 on a table of 197 countries that were part of a global survey of media independence.
The latest Freedom of the Press 2013 survey released yesterday in Washington DC in the US showed significant downgrades of a number of countries around the world. But it also showed a relatively high level of press freedom in 2012 in the Asia-Pacific region, with 15 countries and territories rated "free", 12 rated "partly free" and 13 rated "not free".
The Freedom of the Press index assesses the degree of print, broadcast, and internet freedom in every country in the world, analysing the events and developments of each calendar year.
Ratings are determined through an examination of three broad categories:
* the legal environment in which media operate;
* political influences on reporting and access to information; and
* economic pressures on content and the dissemination of news.
In her speech yesterday morning at the Newseum Building along Pennsylvania Avenue, Karin Karlekar, the project director of Freedom of the Press 2013, said there were eight status changes, with most representing deterioration from "partly free" to "not free". For the first time in the survey's history, all the year's status changes were in the negative.
She said the percentage of people enjoying "free" media in 2012 declined by another half point to the lowest level since 1996.
Freedom House was founded in 1941 and has been a vigorous proponent of the right of all individuals to be free.
It supports global freedom "through comprehensive analysis, dedicated advocacy, and concrete assistance for democratic activists around the world".
Fiji is listed as "partly free".
The eight worst-rated countries are Belarus, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
The survey suggests the Pacific islands, Australasia and parts of East Asia have some of the best-ranked media environments in the world.
The Asia-Pacific average scores from 2008 to last year showed a slight rise. New Zealand was ranked 13 and Australia sits on 31.
Vanuatu is on 45, Tuvalu on 47, Papua New Guinea on 55 along with the Solomon Islands, and Samoa and Tonga are ranked 61. These countries have a "free" status.
The rankings have been conducted since 1980 and the ratings and reports for the latest survey cover events that took place between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2012.