New survey shows decline in press freedom

BY CHARL BOSCH - FEBRUARY 12, 2015

International media watchdog, Reporters without Borders, has said that press freedom during 2014 shrunk by almost 8% and that cases of violence directed towards journalist across 180 countries, went up to 3 719.

According to its World Press Freedom Index for 2015, two-thirds of the surveyed countries performed worse than in the previous year, with North Africa & Middle East, and Eastern Europe & Central Europe being rated as the least safe areas for journalists.

In a statement on its website, the regulator said the reasons were mostly due to escalating violence and the use of the media as a propaganda tool by non-state groups “in pursuit of their own ends”.

“From Boko Haram to Islamic State, Latin American drug traffickers and the Italian mafia, motives may vary but their modus operandi is the same – the use of fear and reprisals to silence journalists and bloggers who dare to investigate them or refuse to act as their mouthpieces,” the statement read.

It also added that although a decrease in the number of journalists convicted or arrested for topics relating to religion were reported, “more and more countries are using prohibitions on blasphemy and sacrilege to censor political criticism.”

“If an article involving religion is deemed to be “insulting” or a violation of “moral standards,” the consequences can be dramatic for the author. In countries where laws are so severe that they may even include the death penalty, news and information providers have had to censor themselves for years.

“The permanent danger hanging over those who cover religious issues has increased the need to alert the international community about the criminalisation of certain opinions and the prohibitions on blasphemy, “defamation of religion” and “offending religious feelings” that such bodies as the Organisation of Islamic Conference are promoting”.

Out of the 180 countries, Finland retained position as the country to offer the most media freedom ahead of Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands and Sweden. Eritrea was judged to have been the country that offers the least ahead of North Korea, Turkmenistan, Syria and China.

South Africa improved slightly on its 42nd position in 2014 to land at 39, making it the fourth best performing African nation behind Cape Verde (36), Ghana (22) and Namibia (17).

 

The list of the 180 countries are as follows:

 

1. Finland

2. Norway

3. Denmark

4. The Netherlands

5. Sweden

6. New Zealand

7. Austria

8. Canada

9. Jamaica

10. Estonia

11. Ireland

12. Germany

13. Czech Republic

14. Slovakia

15. Belgium

16. Costa Rica

17. Namibia

18. Poland

19. Luxembourg

20. Switzerland

21. Iceland

22. Ghana

23. Uruguay

24. Cyprus

25. Australia

26. Portugal

27. Liechtenstein

28. Latvia

29. Suriname

30. Belize

31. Lithuania

32. Andorra

33. Spain

34. United Kingdom

35. Slovenia

36. Cape Verde

37. Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States

38. France

39. South Africa

40. Samoa

41. Trinidad and Tobago

42. Botswana

43. Chile

44. Tonga

45. El Salvador

46. Burkina Faso

47. Niger

48. Malta

49. United States

50. Comoros

51. Taiwan

52. Romania

53. Haiti

54. Mongolia

55. Mauritania

56. Papua New Guinea

57. Argentina

58. Croatia

59. Malawi

60. South Korea

61. Japan

62. Guyana

63. Dominican Republic

64. Madagascar

65. Hungary

66. Bosnia and Herzegovina

67. Serbia

68. Mauritius

69. Georgia

70. Hong Kong

71. Senegal

72. Moldova

73. Italy

74. Nicaragua

75. Tanzania

76. Northern Cyprus

77. Lesotho

78. Armenia

79. Sierra Leone

80. Togo

81. Guinea-Bissau

82. Albania

83. Panama

84. Benin

85. Mozambique

86. Ivory Coast

87. Kosovo

88. Kyrgyzstan

89. Liberia

90. Kuwait

91. Greece

92. Peru

93. Fiji

94. Bolivia

95. Gabon

96. Seychelles

97. Uganda

98. Lebanon

99. Brazil

100. Kenya

101. Israel

102. Guinea

103. East Timor

104. Bhutan

105. Nepal

106. Bulgaria

107. Republic of the Congo

108. Ecuador

109. Paraguay

110. Central African Republic

111. Nigeria

112. Maldives

113. Zambia

114. Montenegro

115. Qatar

116. Tajikistan

117. Macedonia

118. Mali

119. Algeria

120. United Arab Emirates

121. Brunei

122. Afghanistan

123. Angola

124. Guatemala

125. South Sudan

126. Tunisia

127. Oman

128. Colombia

129. Ukraine

130. Morocco

131. Zimbabwe

132. Honduras

133. Cameroon

134. Thailand

135. Chad

136. India

137. Venezuela

138. Indonesia

139. Cambodia

140. Palestinian Territories

141. Philippines

142. Ethiopia

143. Jordan

144. Myanmar

145. Burundi

146. Bangladesh

147. Malaysia

148. Mexico

149. Turkey

150. Democratic Republic of Congo

151. Gambia

152. Russia

153. Singapore

154. Libya

155. Swaziland

156. Iraq

157. Belarus

158. Egypt

159. Pakistan

160. Kazakhstan

161. Rwanda

162. Azerbaijan

163. Bahrain

164. Saudi Arabia

165. Sri Lanka

166. Uzbekistan

167. Equatorial Guinea

168. Yemen

169. Cuba

170. Djibouti

171. Laos

172. Somalia

173. Iran

174. Sudan

175. Vietnam

176. China

177. Syria

178. Turkmenistan

179. North Korea

180. Eritrea

 

 

IMAGE sourced from galleryhip.com