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Luxembourg falls in global press freedom ranking

Luxembourg falls in global press freedom ranking

by Andréa OLDEREIDE 2 min. 03.05.2022 From our online archive
Grand Duchy drops out of the top-20 countries in the world list
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Luxembourg dropped out the world's 20 best for press freedom in an annual ranking by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) despite subsidies approved last year intended to support a variety of media voices, the group said on Tuesday.

Media organisations in Luxembourg enjoyed “a great deal of freedom,” yet the Grand Duchy dropped one spot from last year to 21st in the group's analysis of 180 countries. Scandinavian countries occupied the top three spots, with Norway ranking first followed by Denmark and Sweden.

Similar to Norway and Sweden, Luxembourg operates a system of direct government subsidies that most other European countries do not allow. The law was updated last year to direct more funds to online publications and those in languages such as English and Portuguese in addition to the three official tongues. Each publisher are eligible for a subsidy of €30,000 per year for each journalist they employ to a maximum of €200,000.

However, access to state-held information is still not guaranteed to the public and its release is often resisted despite pressure from the journalists’ union, which opposes withholding public information on the grounds of protecting personal data, RSF's report said.

Luxembourg's press law guarantees freedom of expression and the protection of sources, the group said.  Newspapers are widely read and the public’s level of respect for journalists is one of the highest in the EU, the group said, citing European Commission findings.

But media outlets, which are numerous for the country's small size, are often in conflict with economic interests that hold an outsized influence in the Grand Duchy, RSF reported.

Luxembourg has had a complicated experience with press freedom, and the EU expressed concerns in 2020 about public access to official government documents and “selective” disclosure of information.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel promised to improve press access to information during a meeting of Luxembourg’s journalists’ association last September.  

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