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Loki
Monday, February 6th, 2006, 11:23 PM
http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=554

Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2005

North Korea, Eritrea and Turkmenistan are the world’s “black holes” for news

Western democracies slip back, with the US falling more than 20 places


North Korea once again comes bottom of the Reporters Without Borders fourth annual World Press Freedom Index, released today. It is closely followed in the 167-country list by Eritrea (166th) and Turkmenistan (165th), which are other “black holes” for news where the privately-owned media is not allowed and freedom of expression does not exist.
Journalists there simply relay government propaganda. Anyone out of step is harshly dealt with. A word too many, a commentary that deviates from the official line or a wrongly-spelled name and the author may be thrown in prison or draw the wrath of those in power. Harassment, psychological pressure, intimidation and round-the-clock surveillance are routine.

East Asia (Burma 163rd, China 159th, Vietnam 158th, Laos 155th), Central Asia (Turkmenistan 165th, Uzbekistan 155th, Afghanistan 125th, Kazakhstan 119th) and the Middle East (Iran 164th, Iraq 157th, Saudi Arabia 154th, Syria 145th) are where journalists have the toughest time and where government repression or armed groups prevent the media operating freely.

The situation in Iraq (157th) deteriorated further during the year as the safety of journalists became more precarious. At least 24 journalists and media assistants have been killed so far this year, making it the mostly deadly conflict for the media since World War II. A total of 72 media workers have been killed since the fighting began in March 2003.
But more and more African and Latin American countries (Benin 25th, Namibia 25th, El Salvador 28th, Cape Verde 29th, Mauritius 34th, Mali 37th, Costa Rica 41st and Bolivia 45th) are getting very good rankings.

Western democracies slip back

Some Western democracies slipped down the Index. The United States (44th) fell more than 20 places, mainly because of the imprisonment of New York Times reporter Judith Miller and legal moves undermining the privacy of journalistic sources. Canada (21st) also dropped several places due to decisions that weakened the privacy of sources and sometimes turned journalists into “court auxiliaries.” France (30th) also slipped, largely because of searches of media offices, interrogations of journalists and introduction of new press offences.

At the top of the Index once again are northern European countries Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and the Netherlands, where robust press freedom is firmly established. The top 10 countries are all European. New Zealand (12th), Trinidad and Tobago (12th), Benin (25th) and South Korea (34th) are the highest-ranked countries in other continents.

Press freedom, economic development and independence

Countries that have recently won their independence or have recovered it are very observant of press freedom and give the lie to the insistence of many authoritarian leaders that democracy takes decades to establish itself. Nine states that have had independence (or recovered it within the past 15 years) are among the top 60 countries - Slovenia (9th), Estonia (11th), Latvia (16th), Lithuania (21st), Namibia (25th), Bosnia-Herzegovina (33rd), Macedonia (43rd), Croatia (56th) and East Timor (58th).

The Index also contradicts the frequent argument by leaders of poor and repressive countries that economic development is a vital precondition for democracy and respect for human rights. The top of the Index is heavily dominated by rich countries, but several very poor ones (with a per capita GDP of less than $1,000 in 2003) are among the top 60, such as Benin (25th), Mali (37th), Bolivia (45th), Mozambique (49th), Mongolia (53rd), Niger (57th) and East Timor (58th).

Reporters Without Borders compiled this Index of 167 countries by asking its partner organizations (14 freedom of expression groups from around the world) and its network of 130 correspondents, as well as journalists, researchers, legal experts and human rights activists, to answer 50 questions designed to assess a country’s level of press freedom. Some countries are not mentioned for lack of information about them.

Sigurd
Monday, February 6th, 2006, 11:33 PM
UK's only on rank 24. No surprise to me. :coffee:

brian
Monday, February 6th, 2006, 11:39 PM
At the top of the Index once again are northern European countries Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and the Netherlands, where robust press freedom is firmly established.

How many mainstream right wing publications are there in these countries? If they is plentiful, then I will feel safe in believing this statement.

Loki
Monday, February 6th, 2006, 11:49 PM
How many mainstream right wing publications are there in these countries? If they is plentiful, then I will feel safe in believing this statement.

That depends what you mean by "mainstream right wing". The political climate and breakdown cannot be compared to what is found in America.

brian
Tuesday, February 7th, 2006, 02:12 AM
That depends what you mean by "mainstream right wing". The political climate and breakdown cannot be compared to what is found in America.

Yes; when I chose that word, I was trying to contrast it with "underground" publications or those that don't follow the normal distribution patterns as normal. (Like daily newspapers.) However, I knew that by saying "mainstream", it would evoke the sense you described.

What I tried to express while attempting to be brief (but failed :)), are papers that are not underground papers, but however espouses some (or all) views that we ourselves express. As in, wholly politically incorrect thinking that could rile up leftists. I think if those ideas were in the "mainstream", then we can responsibly say that they should be on the top of the list.

Isn't it true that some of the listed countries have laws that protect protected minorities from criticism?

Here is the list: http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=554. I'd like to dig up why they chose those countries.

Lundi
Tuesday, February 7th, 2006, 10:49 AM
Now, now Loki that title is a tad misleading since 7 countries share the number one spot this year, Denmark just so happens to be first in the alphabet ;)

Good job my Northern brothers and sisters :)

Lissu
Tuesday, February 7th, 2006, 06:58 PM
Now, now Loki that title is a tad misleading since 7 countries share the number one spot this year, Denmark just so happens to be first in the alphabet ;)

Good job my Northern brothers and sisters :)Indeed :)


Country Score
Denmark 0,50
Finland 0,50
Iceland 0,50
Ireland 0,50
Netherlands 0,50
Norway 0,50
Switzerland 0,504 out of 5 Nordic countries scored #1 - Not bad! :flagge14: :fi: :iceland: :flagge21:

Not surprizingly, Sweden shares the 12th place with:


Country Score
Hungary 2,00
New Zealand 2,00
Sweden 2,00
Trinidad and Tobago 2,00

Well even that is far better than in many countries in the world.

Still the situation could be better also in countries that scored on top of the list. Knowing the Finnish press, they also have become more PC during the last years, and don't like this development at all.

Blutwölfin
Wednesday, October 25th, 2006, 09:27 PM
New countries have moved ahead of some Western democracies in the fifth annual Reporters Without Borders Worldwide Press Freedom Index, issued today, while the most repressive countries are still the same ones.

“Unfortunately nothing has changed in the countries that are the worst predators of press freedom,” the organisation said, “and journalists in North Korea, Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Cuba, Burma and China are still risking their life or imprisonment for trying to keep us informed. These situations are extremely serious and it is urgent that leaders of these countries accept criticism and stop routinely cracking down on the media so harshly.

"Each year new countries in less-developed parts of the world move up the Index to positions above some European countries or the United States. This is good news and shows once again that, even though very poor, countries can be very observant of freedom of expression. Meanwhile the steady erosion of press freedom in the United States, France and Japan is extremely alarming,” Reporters Without Borders said.

The three worst violators of free expression - North Korea, bottom of the Index at 168th place, Turkmenistan (167th) and Eritrea (166th) - have clamped down further. The torture death of Turkmenistan journalist Ogulsapar Muradova shows that the country’s leader, “President-for-Life” Separmurad Nyazov, is willing to use extreme violence against those who dare to criticise him. Reporters Without Borders is also extremely concerned about a number of Eritrean journalists who have been imprisoned in secret for more than five years. The all-powerful North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, also continues to totally control the media.

Northern European countries once again come top of the Index, with no recorded censorship, threats, intimidation or physical reprisals in Finland, Ireland, Iceland and the Netherlands, which all share first place.

Deterioration in the United States and Japan, with France also slipping

The United States (53rd) has fallen nine places since last year, after being in 17th position in the first year of the Index, in 2002. Relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of “national security” to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his “war on terrorism.” The zeal of federal courts which, unlike those in 33 US states, refuse to recognise the media’s right not to reveal its sources, even threatens journalists whose investigations have no connection at all with terrorism.

Freelance journalist and blogger Josh Wolf was imprisoned when he refused to hand over his video archives. Sudanese cameraman Sami al-Haj, who works for the pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera, has been held without trial since June 2002 at the US military base at Guantanamo, and Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein has been held by US authorities in Iraq since April this year.

France (35th) slipped five places during the past year, to make a loss of 24 places in five years. The increase in searches of media offices and journalists’ homes is very worrying for media organisations and trade unions. Autumn 2005 was an especially bad time for French journalists, several of whom were physically attacked or threatened during a trade union dispute involving privatisation of the Corsican firm SNCM and during violent demonstrations in French city suburbs in November.

Rising nationalism and the system of exclusive press clubs (kishas) threatened democratic gains in Japan, which fell 14 places to 51st. The newspaper Nihon Keizai was firebombed and several journalists phsyically attacked by far-right activists (uyoku).

Fallout from the row over the "Mohammed cartoons”

Denmark (19th) dropped from joint first place because of serious threats against the authors of the Mohammed cartoons published there in autumn 2005. For the first time in recent years in a country that is very observant of civil liberties, journalists had to have police protection due to threats against them because of their work.

Yemen (149th) slipped four places, mainly because of the arrest of several journalists and closure of newspapers that reprinted the cartoons. Journalists were harassed for the same reason in Algeria (126th), Jordan (109th), Indonesia (103rd) and India (105th).

But except for Yemen and Saudi Arabia (161st), all the Arab peninsula countries considerably improved their rank. Kuwait (73rd) kept its place at the top of the group, just ahead of the United Arab Emirates (77th) and Qatar (80th).

Newcomers to the top ranks

Two countries moved into the Index’s top 20 for the first time. Bolivia (16th) was best-placed among less-developed countries and during the year its journalists enjoyed the same level of freedom as colleagues in Canada or Austria. Bosnia-Herzegovina (19th) continued its gradual rise up the Index since the end of the war in ex-Yugoslavia and is now placed above its European Union member-state neighbours Greece (32nd) and Italy (40th).

Ghana (34th) rose 32 places to become fourth in Africa behind the continent’s three traditional leaders - Benin (23rd), Namibia (26th) and Mauritius (32nd). Economic conditions are still difficult for the Ghanaian media but it is no longer threatened by the authorities.

Panama (39th) is enjoying political peace which has helped the growth of a free and vigorous media and the country moved up 27 places over the year.

War, the destroyer of press freedom

Lebanon has fallen from 56th to 107th place in five years, as the country’s media continues to suffer from the region’s poisonous political atmosphere, with a series of bomb attacks in 2005 and Israeli military attacks this year. The Lebanese media - some of the freest and most experienced in the Arab world - desperately need peace and guarantees of security. The inability of the Palestinian Authority (134th) to maintain stability in its territories and the behaviour of Israel (135th) outside its borders seriously threaten freedom of expression in the Middle East.

Things are much the same in Sri Lanka, which ranked 51st in 2002, when there was peace, but has now sunk to 141st because fighting between government and rebel forces has resumed in earnest. Dozens of Tamil journalists have been physically attacked after being accused by one side or the other of being biased against them.

Press freedom in Nepal (159th) has shifted according to the state of the fighting that has disrupted the country for several years. The “democatic revolution” and the revolt against the monarchy in April this year led immediately to more basic freedoms and the country should gain a lot of ground in next year’s Index.

Welcome changes of regime

Changes of ruler are sometimes good for press freeedom, as in the case of Haiti, which has risen from 125th to 87th place in two years after the flight into exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in early 2004. Several murders of journalists remain unpunished but violence against the media has abated.

Togo (66th) has risen 29 places since the death of President Gnassingbe Eyadema in February 2005, the accession to power of his son and internationally-backed efforts to make peace with the opposition.

A coup in Mauritania in August 2005 ended the heavy censorship of the local media and the country has risen to 77th position after being 138th in 2004, one of the biggest improvements in the Index.

Reporters Without Borders compiled the Index by asking the 14 freedom of expression organisations that are its partners worldwide, its network of 130 correspondents, as well as journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists, to answer 50 questions about press freedom in their countries. The Index covers 168 nations. Others were not included for lack of data about them.


See the Index for Europe (PDF) (http://www.rsf.org/IMG/pdf/cm2006_eu-3.pdf)

Index World (http://www.rsf.org/IMG/pdf/cm2006.pdf)


Source (http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=19388)

Dagna
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 04:55 AM
Norway tops Freedom of the Press ranking

The organisation "Reporters without Borders" has ranked Norway, together with Iceland and Luxembourg, as the nations with the highest freedom of the press in 2008.

These countries are followed by Estonia, Finland and Ireland in the press organisation's Index 2008.

Eritrea (173rd), came last on the ranking list for the second year running.

http://www.norwaypost.no/Culture/Norway-tops-Freedom-of-the-Press-ranking/menu-id-32.html

Æmeric
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 05:04 AM
What kind of an organization is "Reporters without Borders"? And what do they mean by "Freedom of the Press"? Is the (Norwegian) press allowed to report honestly on immigration & other races issues without fear of prosecution for hate crimes? Can controversial subjects like the holocaust be questioned? And does this freedom apply just to the big media companies or to all, including internet bloggers?

Hersir
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 12:44 PM
What I do like about the norwegian press is that in most cases they write if the criminal is a immigrant, but many of the journalists are red.

Schmetterling
Sunday, November 9th, 2008, 02:36 PM
What I do like about the norwegian press is that in most cases they write if the criminal is a immigrant, but many of the journalists are red.
Germany's journalists are red too, but they nearly always conveniently omit the race of the criminal, so you're better off at least from that angle.