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Kabul Korrespondence

Fresh, factual, and funky view of Afghanistan and the surrounding Central Asian region

WORLD PRESS FREEDOM RANKING

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Reporters Without Borders/Reporters sans frontières

20 October 2009

Political power grabs dealt press freedom a great disservice again this year. A military coup caused Fiji (152nd) to fall 73 places. Soldiers moved into Fijian news rooms for several weeks and censored articles before they were published, while foreign journalists were deported.

The authoritarianism of existing governments, for example in Sri Lanka (162nd) and Malaysia (131st), prevented journalists from properly covering sensitive subjects such as corruption or human rights abuses. The Sri Lankan government had a journalist sentenced to 20 years in prison and forced dozens of others to flee the country.

War and terrorism wrought havoc and exposed journalists to great danger. Afghanistan (149th) is sapped not only by Taliban violence and death threats, but also by unjustified arrests by the security forces.

Despite having dynamic news media, Pakistan (159th) is crippled by murders of journalists and the aggressiveness of both the Taliban and sectors of the military. It shared (with Somalia) the world record for journalists killed during the period under review.

The Asian countries that least respected press freedom were, predictably, North Korea, one of the “infernal trio” at the bottom of the rankings, Burma, which still suffers from prior censorship and imprisonment, and Laos, an unchanging dictatorship where no privately-owned media are permitted.

The media in China (168th) are evolving rapidly along with the rest of the country but it continues to have a very poor ranking because of the frequency of imprisonment, especially in Tibet, Internet censorship and the nepotism of the central and provincial authorities.

In the good news section, Maldives (51st) climbed 53 places thanks to a successful democratic transition while Bhutan (70th) rose another four places thanks to further efforts in favour of media diversity.


Check your country ranking on: http://www.rsf.org/spip.php?page=article&id_article=34729
posted by Travis, 3:13 pm

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