World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Press Freedom and Media Development Reports

Press Freedom and Media Development Reports

WAN-IFRA's Press Freedom and Media Development research reports are free to download. Click on the links for an abstract summary and to access pdf versions of each document. Printed versions, where applicable, are available on request.

More information about WAN-IFRA's industry-leading research can be found here.


Global Press Freedom Report.  A new global report on “soft censorship” warns of increasing threats to independent media posed by official use of financial leverage and regulatory powers to influence reporting and the very viability of media outlets. “Soft Censorship, Hard Impact”, produced by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), details the advance of soft censorship, and urgently calls on governments to fully respect principles of transparent and non-discriminatory state advertising, aid and funding for all media outlets. Click here to read the full report. 

Soft Censorship Mexico: Press freedom in Mexico faces widespread and growing threats from “soft censorship” that includes government use of financial incentives and penalties to pressure news media, punish critical reporting, and reward favourable coverage, according to a new report released by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers. Click here to read the full report.

WAN-IFRA's Soft Censorship reports on Serbia and Hungary provide an insight into how governments’ use of financial power to pressure news media, punish critical reporting and reward favourable coverage. The reports demonstrate how the governments in two European countries – Serbia and Hungary –use their financial power to pressure media outlets, punish critical reporting and reward favourable coverage. Click here to read the background and full reports.

"The lack of any real guarantees enshrining press freedom in the United Kingdom continues to expose journalism to great uncertainty, as there is nothing benign in a system that invites even the possibility of tighter restrictions on freedom of expression. If the UK government feels it is acceptable, in the name of national security, to dictate what is in the public interest, and given the UK’s continued influence over developing nations where media are essential for the spread of democratic values, the future of a free, independent press that can hold power to account is under threat worldwide." WAN-IFRA's press freedom report on the UK examines post-Leveson plans for regulation as well as government pressure on the Guardian newspaper in light of its digital surveillance and national security reporting. Click here to download the full report. 

A new report calls on Ethiopia to reform repressive anti-terror laws. The use of sweeping anti-terrorism law to imprison journalists and other legislative restrictions are hindering the development of free and independent media in Africa’s second largest country, according to a report published by The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the International Press Institute (IPI). Click here to download the full report.




WAN-IFRA’s Global Press Freedom Report takes a twelve-month snapshot of the major issues affecting press freedom and freedom of expression worldwide.  You can download our full report in PDF format.  Click here.

MEXICO: A report released in April 2013 by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the International Press Institute (IPI) following their February joint press-freedom mission to Mexico states that the new Mexican federal government must work to fully implement recent institutional measures designed to improve journalist safety. Click here.


¿Pluralizando medios o controlando el debate?

WAN-IFRA sent a delegation to Ecuador to assess the media situation in the country, in the face of increasingly repressive tactics used against the media by president Rafael Correa. His tactics of suing for defamation all those who write against him are exemplified in the case of El Universo newspaper. The report presents a dire warning to the President's administration that he cannot continue to silence his critics indefinitely in the face of growing international condemnation.

Available in Spanish, English and French.



World Press Freedom Review 2011

Media employees worldwide face physical violence and persecution of all kinds, whether from public officials, criminals or terrorists. Assaults are daily - and often deadly - for those who challenge governments, report on conflict or investigate corruption and crime.

The Scars of Oppression Run Deep: Assessing the Critical Requirements for Freedom of Expression in Tunisia’s Democratic Transition

If Tunisians are to play an informed part in the transition phase and beyond, they need a free and independent media and a strong, democratic and open civil society to hold power to account, according to this report from the International Freedom of Expression Exchange Tunisia Monitoring Group (IFEX-TMG), a coalition of 21 IFEX members in which WAN-IFRA plays a leading role.

Available in English, Arabic and French.

Financially Viable Media in Emerging Markets and Developing Markets

Political pressures remain a major challenge for many newspapers in developing countries, but economic pressures and turbulent business conditions are emerging as equally disturbing threats to business development and editorial independence.

"Developing Financially Viable Media in Emerging Markets" is based on an unprecedented survey of more than 150 individual newspapers and media executives in more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, and on five in-depth country studies. The research investigates the relationships between media freedoms, financial sustainability of media in emerging markets, and international development support.


Mobile media services at Sub-Saharan African newspapers

The content of this report is based on a series of interviews held on-site in Uganda, Kenya and South Africa in February and March 2011. The aim of this report is to provide a comprehensive guide for Sub-Saharan media companies looking into the mobile channel. The typical reader is a media manager who needs to understand the overall opportunities and challenges in the market today and in a foreseeable future to be able to make up his or her mind on how to take mobile further in their own organisation.

To read the report in French, click the link above and scroll to the bottom of the page.


Addressing the Capitalization Gap for Independent News Media

The capitalization gap for independent news media businesses in developing markets is a stark reality. There are persuasive social impact arguments to extend support to independent news media businesses. There are also convincing arguments that providing finance capital has a significant impact on independent media sustainability, as proven by recent successful public-private initiatives that have mobilized funding to independent news media businesses around the world. This paper assesses the capitalization gap, identifies entry points for philanthropic capital and prepares a compelling case for developing existing initiatives and exploring new ones that can bridge the gap and channel necessary funding to the sector.



Freedom of Expression in Yemen: A Critical State of Affairs

Against a backdrop of historic political change for the region that has brought the country to the brink of its own revolution, The International Partnership for Yemen has released findings from its joint mission that expose the critical situation facing the media in the country.

Available in English and Arabic.

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