Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2003/09/07

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Subject: [Leica] FW: US #17 world press freedom (Canada #5)
From: Tim Atherton <>
Date: Sun, 07 Sep 2003 17:45:24 -0600

Reporters Without Borders publishes the first worldwide press freedom index

The first worldwide index of press freedom has some surprises for Western
democracies. The United States ranks below Costa Rica and Italy scores
lower than Benin. The five countries with least press freedom are North
Korea, China, Burma, Turkmenistan and Bhutan.

180c9a9.jpg Surprises among Western democracies : US below Costa Rica and
Italy below Benin

Reporters Without Borders is publishing for the first time a worldwide
index of countries according to their respect for press freedom. It also
shows that such freedom is under threat everywhere, with the 20
bottom-ranked countries drawn from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.
The situation in especially bad in Asia, which contains the five worst
offenders - North Korea, China, Burma, Turkmenistan and Bhutan.

The top end of the list shows that rich countries have no monopoly of press
freedom. Costa Rica and Benin are examples of how growth of a free press
does not just depend on a country's material prosperity.

The index was drawn up by asking journalists, researchers and legal experts
to answer 50 questions about the whole range of press freedom violations
(such as murders or arrests of journalists, censorship, pressure, state
monopolies in various fields, punishment of press law offences and
regulation of the media). The final list includes 139 countries. The others
were not included in the absence of reliable information.

In the worst-ranked countries, press freedom is a dead letter and
independent newspapers do not exist. The only voice heard is of media
tightly controlled or monitored by the government. The very few independent
journalists are constantly harassed, imprisoned or forced into exile by the
authorities. The foreign media is banned or allowed in very small doses,
always closely monitored.

Right at the top of the list four countries share first place - Finland,
Iceland, Norway and the Netherlands. These northern European states
scrupulously respect press freedom in their own countries but also speak up
for it elsewhere, for example recently in Eritrea and Zimbabwe. The
highest-scoring country outside Europe is Canada, which comes fifth....

more at:

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