Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2006

Reporters Without Borders has released its 2006 classification of how well countries are doing in terms of Freedom of expression. I can’t say that I believe 100% in such measures, though overall the index looks like reasonable sociological guess work based on responses to a questionnaire. “ The index measures the state of press freedom in the world,” RWB writes about its methods. “It reflects the degree of freedom journalists and news organisations enjoy in each country, and the efforts made by the state to respect and ensure respect for this freedom.” You can check out the details of the methodology used here and the questionnaire here. RWB sums up this year’s results here, and below are the opening paras of that statement, including the headlines indicating the major tendencies — not surprisingly the US is slipping:

North Korea, Turkmenistan, Eritrea the worst violators of press freedom.

France, the United States and Japan slip further — Mauritania and Haiti gain much ground

New countries have moved ahead of some Western democracies in the fifth annual Reporters Without Borders Worldwide Press Freedom Index, issued today, while the most repressive countries are still the same ones.

“Unfortunately nothing has changed in the countries that are the worst predators of press freedom,” the organisation said, “and journalists in North Korea, Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Cuba, Burma and China are still risking their life or imprisonment for trying to keep us informed. These situations are extremely serious and it is urgent that leaders of these countries accept criticism and stop routinely cracking down on the media so harshly.

“Each year new countries in less-developed parts of the world move up the Index to positions above some European countries or the United States. This is good news and shows once again that, even though very poor, countries can be very observant of freedom of expression. Meanwhile the steady erosion of press freedom in the United States, France and Japan is extremely alarming,” Reporters Without Borders said.

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