According to the Index, Finland and the Nordic countries remain thriving democracies, with Norway, Iceland and Sweden topping the list, followed by Denmark in fifth place and Finland landing in ninth spot.
The index presents a snapshot of how democracy fares in 165 countries, through five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture.
Finland was classified as a ‘full democracy’ along with 19 countries, which constitute only 4.5 per cent of the world’s population. However, almost one-half of the world’s population (49.3 per cent) live in some form of democracy.
This year’s report raised special concerns over media freedom around the world, and for the first time addressed it separately in a new Media Freedom Index covering 167 countries.
Media freedom has fallen to its lowest level worldwide since the report’s inception in 2006, but the worrying trend has not affected Finland, which shares the first position with a top score along with nine other countries.
According to the media freedom ranking only 30 countries out of the 167 were classified as fully free, defined by a free press, few restrictions on freedom of expression and protest, robust media coverage and representation of dissenting views, and no political restrictions on Internet access.