This is a clear and sobering map of what freedom of the press looks like worlwide in 2013, after the Arab Spring: a story of dashed hopes and a map that looks pretty similar to that of previous year. The map produced by Reporters Without Borders shows that while regimes fall and change, repression of the press predures. The organization, which fights for press freedom across the world, also produced a very useful Press Freedom Index.
"The ranking of most countries is no longer attributable to dramatic political developments. This year’s index is a better reflection of the attitudes and intentions of governments towards media freedom in the medium or long term," the report states. The same three European countries that toped the press freedom index last year, came top again this year: Finland, followed by Norway and the Netherlands. Many criteria are considered, ranging from legislation to violence against journalists, but democratic countries occupy the top of the index while dictatorial countries occupy the last three positions. Like last year, they are Turkemistan, North Korea and Eritrea. Syria, Somalia and Iran are trailing near the bottom of the list too. The United Kingdom is ranked 29, just before Ghana, Suriname and the US.
"The Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.
“In dictatorships, news providers and their families are exposed to ruthless reprisals, while in democracies news providers have to cope with the media’s economic crises and conflicts of interest. While their situation is not always comparable, we should pay tribute to all those who resist pressure whether it is aggressively focused or diffuse.”
Coinciding with the release of its 2013 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders is for the first time publishing an annual global “indicator” of worldwide media freedom. This new analytic tool measures the overall level of freedom of information in the world and the performance of the world’s governments in their entirety as regards this key freedom.