U-S-A, U-S-A……we’re number seventeen! U-S-A, U-S-A!!!
According to Reporters Without Borders, the US is # 17 is press freedom.
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 four 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 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.
The poor ranking of the United States (17th) is mainly because of the number of journalists arrested or imprisoned there. Arrests are often because they refuse to reveal their sources in court. Also, since the 11 September attacks, several journalists have been arrested for crossing security lines at some official buildings.
American reporters Howard Fineman, Candy Crowley, Frank Bruni, and Britt Hume issued a statement disputing the report saying, “No. No. Everything is good here. We are well fed with daily stories by our good friend Ari Fleischer, and Karen Hughes is like the mother we never had. We are happy. Please do not change anything. May we go now, Mr. Rove?”
Reporters Without Borders called it “the worst case of Stockholm Syndrome we’ve ever seen. It’s sickening, really”