Source description last updated: 22 April 2021

In brief: Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) (English: Reporters Without Borders) is a Paris-based international non-governmental organization devoted to protecting freedom of expression by reporting on violations of press freedom.

Coverage on

Press releases, appeals, statements and thematic reports

Covered daily on, for countries of priorities A, B and C (annual reports also for priorities D and E)


“Founded by four journalists in the southern French city Montpellier in 1985, RSF is now one of the world’s leading NGOs in the defense and promotion of freedom of information.” RSF has been “[r]egistered in France as a non-profit organization since 1995 [...].” (RSF website: Presentation, undated)

RSF states that it is “independent of any political tendency, economic interest or religious belief” (RSF website: Financial Transparency, undated) and “defends journalists (both professional and non-professional) who may hold opposing views as long as they are committed to reporting reality as they see it, in an independent manner.” (RSF website: Our values, undated)

“Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is an independent NGO with consultative status with the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF). Its foreign sections, its bureaux in ten cities, including Brussels, Washington, Berlin, Tunis, Rio de Janeiro, and Stockholm, and its network of correspondents in 130 countries give RSF the ability to mobilize support, challenge governments and wield influence both on the ground and in the ministries and precincts where media and Internet standards and legislation are drafted. [...]

RSF issues press releases and reports in French, English, Spanish, Arabic, and Farsi (and often in other languages such as Chinese, Portuguese and Russian) about the state of freedom of information throughout the world and how it is being violated. Its statements in the international media increase public awareness and influence leaders as regards both individual cases and general issues.” (RSF website: Presentation, undated)

RSF’s annually published World Press Freedom Index “ranks 180 countries according to the level of freedom available to journalists.” (RSF website: The World Press Freedom Index, undated).


RSF explains that it is “funded in a balanced manner by the public’s generosity, private-sector donors and the sale of our ‘100 photos for press freedom’ books on the one hand, and by public-sector funding on the other” (RSF website: Financial Transparency, undated). RSF’s sources of funding typically include institutional grants (from the EU, Ministries etc.), accounting for the largest share of RSF’s funding, as well as grants from private foundations, RSF’s own commercial activities (including the sale of its photo books), and corporate and individual donations (RSF: Financial Report, undated), including membership fees (RSF website: Membership, undated). RSF’s budget for the year 2020 amounted to 6,089,924 euros (RSF: Financial Report, undated).

Scope of reporting:

Geographic focus: Sub-Saharan Africa, North and Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa

Thematic focus: all forms of violation of press freedom; killing, imprisonment, torture, disappearance and other types of persecution of journalists, media workers and bloggers


“A team of in-house specialists, each assigned to a different geographical region, keeps a detailed tally of abuses and violence against journalists and media outlets. These researchers also rely on a network of correspondents in 130 countries.” (RSF website: The World Press Freedom Index, undated)

Press releases are issued “[a]fter checking and corroborating [the] information” gathered by RSF. (RSF website: Our Activities, undated)

Thematic reports may be based on interviews with dozens of “journalists and activists, lawyers and human rights defenders conducted by Reporters Without Borders” representatives (RSF: “Taking Control?” Report by RSF on internet censorship in Russia, November 2019, p. 5; see also: RSF: Facing Reality after the Euro Maidan; the Situation of Journalists and Media in Ukraine, June 2016, p. 5) and/or cases of abuse reported to and followed up by RSF. (see, for example, RSF: Women’s rights: Forbidden subject, March 2018, p. 3)

Languages of publication:

French, English, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and other languages.

Further reading / links:

World Press Freedom Index Methodology, undated

Reporter ohne Grenzen e.V. (Deutschland)

Reporter ohne Grenzen Österreich
Reporter ohne Grenzen e.V.: Auszeichnungen, undated


All links accessed 22 April 2021.


Methodological note:'s source descriptions contain background information on an organisation’s mission & objective, funding and reporting methodology, as well as on how we cover the source. The descriptions were prepared after researching publicly accessible information within time constraints. Most information contained in a source description was taken from the source itself. The aim is to provide a brief introduction to the sources covered regularly, offering information on relevant aspects in one place in a systematic manner.