Shorter: The USofA, ranked 17th in the first survey in 2002 (and, not incidentally, the country which more or less invented the idea of a 'free press'), now ranks 53rd--tied with Botswana, Croatia, and Tonga; Northern European countries top the index, with no reported censorship, threats, intimidation or physical reprisals, either by officials or the public, in Finland, Ireland, Iceland and the Netherlands. All of those countries were ranked in first place.
Some poor countries, such as Mauritania and Haiti, improved their record in a global press freedom index this year, while France, the United States and Japan slipped further down the scale of 168 countries rated, the group Reporters Without Borders said yesterday. The news media advocacy organization said the most repressive countries in terms of journalistic freedom -- such as North Korea, Cuba, Burma and China -- made no advances at all.So we're not as bad as them, anyway...I feel so much better.
The organization's fifth annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index tracks actions against news media through the end of September. The group noted its concern over the declining rankings of some Western democracies as well as the persistence of other countries in imposing harsh punishments on media that criticize political leaders.
"Unfortunately nothing has changed in the countries that are the worst predators of press freedom, and journalists in North Korea, Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Cuba, Burma and China are still risking their life or imprisonment for trying to keep us informed," the organization said in a news release. North Korea holds the worst ranking at 168.
FYEIEIO: Here's the Top 10:
1) Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands
5) Czech Republic
6) Estonia, Norway
8) Slovakia, Switzerland
10) Hungary, Latvia, Portugal, Slovenia