In this annual index, Freedom House ranks 196 countries and territories based on the situation of press freedom. Global press freedom declined in 2009, with setbacks registered in almost every region of the world, according to the Freedom House study. The study, Freedom of the Press 2010: A Global Survey of Media Independence, reported that press freedom declined for the eighth consecutive year, producing a global landscape in which only one in six people live in countries with a Free press.
The year was notable for intensified efforts by authoritarian regimes to place restrictions on all conduits for news and information. The trend included repression of print and broadcast journalism, but a growing focus on the internet and other new media was also apparent. While there were some positive developments, particularly in South Asia, significant declines were recorded in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East. Countries with largest downgrades included South Africa, Iran, Mexico, the Philippines, Senegal, and Guinea.