The Celtic Countries Where They Rate in Press Freedom



With the Manx Press in the eye of the storm following criticism from Government Ministers of Adrian Darbyshire’s report for Isle of Man newspapers on ‘the coup that never was’ we thought it would be useful to look at press and media freedom globally.

Reporters Without Frontiers (RSF) publishes a global press freedom indicator and although it does not include dependencies or overseas territories it of course includes the United Kingdom.

The limits of press freedom are dictated by the legal framework in the relevant State and as Manx law is based very much on English common law we probably are in the same ‘ball-park’ as the UK.


In relation to the Celtic countries Ireland comes out on top being at No 11 on the RSF list.
The United Kingdom, which includes (part of Ireland), Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall are down at No 34.

Meanwhile the Bretons are of course lumped in with France which comes even lower down the scale at No 38.

The RSF site is here:

In the other comparable global press freedom indicator ‘The State of the World Liberty Index’.
Their site is best accessed via Wiki (and then click the rating 2014 which produces an Excel table):
Ireland is top again at No 7 although down from 1st last year.

Meanwhile the UK fairs slightly better than its RSF rating at No 14 (although down slightly from No 13 last year)

France keeps its low rating at No 31 (though up from 34 last year)

When you look at some of the reports on RSF and see what happens to press freedom globally we should thank our lucky stars that we have a comparatively free press within the Celtic countries.

However we should never be complacent as it is not simply in the third world or Russia that journalist face danger and restrictions, even in the Celtic countries in recent year’s journalists have paid the ultimate price for pursuing ‘the story’.

The fate of Irish journalist Veronica Guerin is well known having had several film dramatisations. Less well remembered is the fate of Belfast journalist Martin O’Hagan, a man the Celtic League sourced stories to on a number of occasions over the years, gunned down in the street.

Compared to that the IOM Newspapers – Government press spat this week is a ‘storm in an inkwell’!

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur).


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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