Friday, May 04, 2012

Freedom of the Press: A Cautionary Tale

Map from

By Hos

Freedom House is the organization the publishes annual reports on the status of freedom of the press in the world. It divides nations into 3 groups in this regard: Free, Partly Free and Not Free. The report was released yesterday for 2011 in Washington.

It is a bleak report. Less than 15% of world population live in nations were there is free press. There have been important improvements in North Africa as a result of the "Arab Spring". That is perhaps the only positive points in the 2011. But the improvements have been offset by deteriorations elsewhere.

The situation is Latin America has gotten worse in more places than one. Our neighboring nation to the south, Mexico, is one of the worst examples. Down there the deterioration is due to crackdowns by local governments as well as kidnappings and killings of journalists by drug cartels, which do not exactly care for free expression. Another unfortunate example is Venezuela, a country once with thriving press, now losing freedom of press as a result of pressures from the authoritarian government of Hugo Chavez. I shudder when I see some in the US, like Sean Penn and Noam Chomsky, rooting for Chavez.

But there is no room for complacency. In the report, the US is number, regarding freedom of the press. Freedom House mentions that some states have repealed laws that protect journalists from having to divulge their sources.

And guess which are the nations that rank the highest for freedom of the press? Norway, Sweden and Finland. Yep, the gold once again goes to "godless Scandinavia".

1 comment:

Carl said...

I find the less religious country's tend to have more freedom of the press and to be overall happier. Maybe America could learn a lesson or two from Norway, Sweden and Finland.