Validating Country-Level Measures of Media Freedom with Survey Data


Lee B. Becker & Tudor Vlad


Press freedom has been viewed as a characteristic of the nation state, linked in much of the western literature to other state characteristics such as level of democratization, extent of civil liberties, government transparency and even economic liberalization. Researchers and governmental and nongovernmental organizations rely heavily on the ratings of press freedom compiled by Freedom House, Reporters without Borders and the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX). This paper extends earlier work looking at the reliability and validity of these measures. Multiple measures of public opinion about press freedom and free speech gathered from 20 plus countries around the world by as well as other relevant data are used to determine if expert panel evaluation of press freedom match those of citizens at large.

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