Press freedom in 10 African nations: Citizen attitudes and global rankings

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Press freedom is said to be a necessary pillar of democracy. As many sub-Saharan African nations move towards creating or strengthening democracies, examining their levels of press freedom may be an important element. This study utilizes public opinion data from 10 nations in the sub-Saharan African region and international press freedom rankings from Reporters Without Borders to better understand both how important (or not) citizens view press freedom to be in their country and how those beliefs compare to global metrices between 2011 and 2018. Results show clear differences in citizen beliefs about press freedom across countries, but no clear relationship between citizen beliefs and global rankings. A connection between individual perceptions and global rankings may take more time to manifest, and/or a nation’s cultural values and political landscape likely have the strongest impact on citizen beliefs.

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