Saturday, 15 February 2014

National security, conflicts threaten press freedom - 2014 Press Freedom Index

The 2014 Reporters Without Borders (RWB) World Press Freedom Index highlights the negative impact of conflicts and abusive interpretation of national security on freedom of information and its protagonists.  This trend constitutes a growing threat worldwide and is even endangering freedom of information in countries regarded as democracies, such as the US. 

“Freedom of information is too often sacrificed to an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs, marking a disturbing retreat from democratic practices. Investigative journalism often suffers as a result,” says RWB report. 

Press freedom in the United States has suffered “one of the most significant declines” in the last year with the NSA surveillance scandal topping the list of wrongdoings. The US is now placed in 46th place out of 180 countries, a 13-place drop from last year. 

The United Kingdom ranks 33rd, losing three places from last year, because of “the disgraceful pressure it puton The Guardian newspaper and its detention of David Miranda, journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner and assistant, for nine hours. 

“Both the US and UK authorities seem obsessed with hunting down whistleblowers instead of adopting legislation to rein in abusive surveillance practices that negate privacy, a democratic value cherished in both countries,” the report states.

The index also reflects the negative impact of armed conflicts on freedom of information and its actors. The world’s most dangerous country for journalists, Syria, is ranked 177th out of 180 countries, rubbing shoulders with the bottom three: Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, where freedom of information is non-existent.
At the top of the index is Finland (for the fourth year running), closely followed by Netherlands and Norway, like last year. 

The World Press Freedom Index is a reference tool based on seven criteria:
-the level of abuses,
-the extent of pluralism,
-media independence,
-the environment and self-censorship,
-the legislative framework,

For more information and to see the 3D map "freedom of the press worldwide", click

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