Many Overseas Journalists Enjoy More Press Freedoms

By Swaffield, Bruce C. | The Quill, December 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Many Overseas Journalists Enjoy More Press Freedoms


Swaffield, Bruce C., The Quill


Despite what most people think, journalists in the United States do not have the highest level of media freedom in the world.

The best countries for working journalists are Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland.

The worst places, the "black holes" where freedom of the press is the most restrictive, are North Korea, Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Iran, Burma, Libya and Cuba.

These recent conclusions are from the fourth annual World Press Freedom Index, conducted by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The international watchdog agency based its rankings of 167 countries on 50 questions that were sent to 14 freedom of expression groups worldwide as well as to journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists throughout the globe.

Examining the frequency and severity of actual violations involving journalists in each country for a one-year period (beginning Sept. 1, 2004), respondents rated the level of freedom enjoyed by members of the press in each nation.

According to RSF, the questionnaire measured "every kind of violation directly affecting journalists (such as murders, imprisonment, physical attacks and threats) and news media (censorship, confiscation of issues, searches and harassment).

"It (the Freedom Index) registers the degree of impunity enjoyed by those responsible for such violations. It also takes account of the legal situation affecting the news media (such as penalties for press offenses, the existence of a state monopoly in certain areas and the existence of a regulatory body) and the behavior of the authorities towards the state-owned news media and the foreign press."

So what about freedom of the press in the United States? The Freedom Index ranks the U.S. at 44, far below Slovakia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Namibia, El Salvador, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"The United States... fell more than 20 places," says RSF, "mainly because of the imprisonment of New York Times reporter Judith Miller and legal moves undermining the privacy of journalistic sources. Canada (21st) also dropped several places due to decisions that weakened the privacy of sources and sometimes turned journalists into 'court auxiliaries.' France (30th) also slipped, largely because of searches of media offices, interrogations of journalists and introduction of new press offenses."

One surprising conclusion of the 2005 Freedom Index is that people in poorer countries do, in fact, share many of the same freedoms as those living in richer nations.

"The Index also contradicts the frequent argument by leaders of poor and repressive countries that economic development is a vital precondition for democracy and respect for human rights," explains RSF.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Many Overseas Journalists Enjoy More Press Freedoms
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?