Canada Ranks 15th on World Press Freedom Index 2023

Key Points

Canada has placed 15th of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index 2023

Of the world's top oil and natural gas exporters, we rank at the top of the list

Canada's place on ESG-related indices like this means we should be a go-to supplier for natural resources

World Press Freedom Index 2023 map

Canada has done it again, ranking high among the world's top oil and natural gas exporters on yet another Environmental, Social and Governance related index. Moving up from 19th in 2022, Canada placed 15th on this year's version of the World Press Freedom Index conducted by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

The RSF's annual index evaluates the environment for journalism in 180 countries and territories. European countries usually top the list, with Canada and the USA not far behind.

While the 2023 index reports that global journalism is threatened by the "fake content industry," Canada gained four spots year-over-year with an improved score of 83.53 out of 100. Also see:

Top 25 Countries With Most "Free" Press (2023)

#1 – Norway
#2 – Ireland
#3 – Denmark
#4 – Sweden
#5 – Finland
#6 – Netherlands
#7 – Lithuania
#8 – Estonia
#9 – Portugal
#10 – Timor-Leste
#11 – Liechtenstein
#12 – Switzerland
#13 – New Zealand
#14 – Czech Republic
#15 – Canada
#16 – Latvia
#17 – Slovakia
#18 – Iceland
#19 – Samoa
#20 – Luxembourg
#21 – Germany
#22 – Namibia
#23 – Costa Rice
#24 – France
#25 – South Africa

World Press Freedom Index: Methodology

world press freedom index canada ranking 2023

The definition of global press freedom used by the RSF and its panel of experts to calculate the rankings is as follows:

"Press freedom is defined as the ability of journalists as individuals and collectives to select, produce, and disseminate news in the public interest independent of political, economic, legal, and social interference and in the absence of threats to their physical and mental safety."

The RSF breaks down these scores into five distinct categories or indicators, including:

  • Political context
  • Sociocultural context
  • Economic context
  • Legal framework
  • Safety

A score between 0 and 100 is assigned to each country by the RSF and its panel of experts, with a higher score indicating a better level of press freedom. This score is calculated based on two components:

  1. a quantitative tally of abuses against media and journalists in connection with their work, and
  2. a qualitative analysis of the situation in each country or territory based on responses from press freedom specialists including journalists, researchers, academics and human rights defenders to an RSF questionnaire available in 24 languages.

Five Categories & Indicators

Five contextual indicators are utilized to evaluate the press freedom situation for each country or territory. These indicators reflect the multifaceted nature of press freedom, and they consist of the political context, legal framework, economic context, sociocultural context, and safety.

For each indicator, a subsidiary score is calculated on a scale ranging from 0 to 100. All of these subsidiary scores are equally weighted and contribute equally to a nation's overall score. Additionally, all questions and subquestions within each indicator hold the same weight.

Political context is evaluated using 33 questions and subquestions to assess:

  1. the degree of support and respect for media autonomy regarding political pressure from the state or other political actors
  2. the level of acceptance of various journalistic practices aligned with political standards, thereby satisfying professional standards
  3. the degree of support for the media in their role of holding politicians and governments accountable in the public interest.

Legal framework of a country or territory is evaluated using 25 questions and subquestions to determine:

  1. the degree to which journalists and media are free to work without censorship or judicial sanctions, or excessive restrictions on their freedom of expression
  2. evaluate the ability to access information without discrimination between journalists
  3. the ability to protect sources, as well as the presence or absence of impunity for those responsible for acts of violence against journalists.

The economic context for each nation is evaluated using 25 questions and subquestions to assess:

  1. economic constraints linked to governmental policies (including the difficulty of creating a news media outlet, favouritism in the allocation of state subsidies, and corruption).
  2. economic constraints linked to media owners who seek to promote and defend their business interests
  3. economic constraints linked to non-state actors such as advertisers and business partners.

Sociocultural context is evaluated using 22 questions and subquestions to determine:

  1. social and cultural constraints faced by the press. Social constraints resulting from attacks on the press based on issues such as gender, class, ethnicity, and religion
  2. cultural constraints, including pressure on journalists not to question power or influence or not to cover specific issues because it would run counter to the prevailing culture in the country or territory.

Safety encompasses 12 questions and subquestions, which represent two-thirds of the safety score. It is evaluated in the context of journalists' safety, and press freedom is defined as the ability to identify, gather and disseminate news and information in accordance with journalistic methods and ethics without unnecessary risk of

  1. bodily harm, psychological or emotional distress that could result from intimidation, coercion, harassment, and other threats targeting journalists.
  2. protection from theft of professional equipment or ransacking of installations and the possibility of losing their jobs.

Canada's Scores on the World Freedom Index 2023

Canada action oil and gas banner

Political Indicator – 8/180 countries – 88.13/100

Economic Indicator – 17/180 countries – 72.22/100

Legislative Indicator – 7/180 countries – 86.48

Social Indicator – 15/180 countries – 88.26

Security Indicator – 54/180 countries – 82.56

While Canada continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to international press freedom protections and practices, RSF says there is more room for progress in the country, particularly concerning press coverage involving the rights of Indigenous Peoples and land disputes.

Why It Matters

Canada, a major exporter of many natural resources in increasingly high demand like oil and gas, is one of the few remaining democratic bastions on the planet with strong protections for human rights and the environment while displaying an exceptionally high level of governmental transparency.

We're not perfect -- but when compared to the rest of the world's mainly autocratic energy producers, for example, we rank among the highest on all Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) related indices.

As long as the world needs Canada's natural resources – whether it be softwood, minerals and metals, energy or food – our country's stable, reliable and responsible resource production means that we should be a go-to choice for the world's material needs.

Let's face it; it does where you get your natural resources from, something that Europe and other nations abroad were reminded of in early 2022.

More Canadian resources on global markets is good for local and Indigenous families, global energy security and climate action. Follow us on social media today to learn why the world needs more of our oil, natural gas, food, softwood, metals and everything else in between!

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