Freedom of Press Across the World, “Dramatically Worse,” US Slips Further Behind

The non-profit organization Reporters Without Borders, devoted to supporting journalists worldwide, published its annual index this month. In six continents, the conditions for free media in 2014 became not just worse, but “dramatically worse,” according to the group’s “2015 World Press Freedom Index”. . .

In two-thirds of the 180 surveyed countries the indicators for press freedom have declined. Violations against freedom of information rose by 8 percent (to a total of 3,719) compared to 2014 and by almost 10 percent compared to 2013. For a number of countries, no data is available at all, being closed to any independent journalistic activity.

Not surprisingly, there is a strong correlation between media freedom, political freedoms and economic freedom. In countries where individuals are able to exercise their freedom to create economic activity, according to The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, the media also tend to function as watchdogs of government activity. In both categories, the majority of countries in the top are western democracies.

Totalitarian and Communist states rank much further down, and at the bottom of the information list are “black holes,” where independent information simply does not exist. Countries in this segment are from regions such as North Africa and the Middle East controlled by non-state terrorist groups like ISIS or Boko Haram.

The United States disappointingly ranks 46th, having declined three places in 2014. This is due to the Obama administration’s heavy handed approach to certain journalists, including the New York Times’ James Risen, who came under pressure to reveal his sources.(Read more about the freedom of press across the world HERE)

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