Hard to believe another year has gone by and it is time once again for the Reporters Without Borders PRess Freedom Index.
The list itself doesn’t contain anything too shocking compared to last year, but I went looking for countries that had experienced the most change in ranking. Lebanon, having had a relatively less violent year than last, jumped several spots to 67, which it shares with nations like East Timor which has also experienced slightly more stability this year. Meanwhile nations like Ivory Coast and Indonesia dropped down several spots to around 110, reasons for which I can only speculate stem from internal strife along political and ethnic lines.
RSF points out that economic prosperity does not equal a freer press, with the United States coming in at 36th tied with nations like South Africa and Bosnia. Or everyone’s favorite economic powerhouse, China, which comes in at 167.. a number one can only hope will be influenced somewhat this coming year as the government is said to be implementing more press freedom in the wake of the Olympics. Venezuela also continues to have a poor showing towards the bottom of the list, though its no surprise as the president there often gets involved in media politics.
The index features, with the exceptions of New Zealand and Canada, only European nations in the top 20. Immediately following in 21 and 22 there are the Caribbean/Central American nations of Jamaica and Costa Rica.
One final point on this year’s press freedom rankings, the list separates some nations by within territory and extra-territory or beyond its borders. This is very interesting to observe, for example Israel itself comes in at 46, whereas extra-terroritorial Israel, which includes Palestine where indeed a journalist was killed in the last year, they rank 149th. Along the same lines, the extra-territorial US is ranked 119. Which reminds me, Iraq is once again almost at the bottom of the list as, despite claims by many US politicians that things are going great, it is still extremely difficult to be a journalist in that country.
Those are my observations regarding the report, read the rest for yourself.