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Freedom of the Press

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Ian Dunn
427521.  Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:02 am Reply with quote

According to the French charity Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders), the UK has the 23rd most free press in the world.

Out of a poll of 173 countries, the UK has actually improved, when last year it was ranked 24th. The UK has the same level of press freedom as Hungary and Nambia.

The countries with the most press freedom are Iceland, Norway and Luxembourg, who all came joint top of the list. The other countries with greater freedom include (in order of most free to less) Estonia, Finland, Ireland (joint 4th), Belgium, Latvia, New Zealand, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland (joint 7th), Canada (13th), Austria, Denmark (joint 14th), Czech Republic, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal (joint 16th), Germany (20th), Jamaica (21st) and Costa Rica (22nd).

France however came 35th on the list, while the USA was 36th, along with Spain, South Africa, Taiwan, Cape Verde, and Bosina and Herzegovina.

The country that came bottom of the list was Eritrea, followed by North Korea, Turkmenistan, Burma, Cuba, Vietnam, China, Iran, Sri Lanka and Laos.

Full list of countries (PDF)
Story from The Guardian

 
Timon
427567.  Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:02 am Reply with quote

It's a while since I've seen any news out of Nambia.

 
Arcane
427579.  Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:27 am Reply with quote

Bloody Kiwi's beat us again!!!!

 
Davini994
427631.  Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:27 am Reply with quote

Cripes, how did Eritrea get below North Korea?

 
CB27
427636.  Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:32 am Reply with quote

Timon wrote:
It's a while since I've seen any news out of Nambia.


Not since they signed a truce with Pambia

 
Timon
427645.  Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:37 am Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
Timon wrote:
It's a while since I've seen any news out of Nambia.


Not since they signed a truce with Pambia


I hadn't even seen about that in the paper. I'm glad they have made up though.
No news, is good news!

 
greentree
427652.  Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:40 am Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
Timon wrote:
It's a while since I've seen any news out of Nambia.


Not since they signed a truce with Pambia


LOL!!! That's really made me laugh..... Nambia-Pambia....what a name!!!!

 
suze
427662.  Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:48 am Reply with quote

A comment to the piece in The Guardian points out that one of the reasons why the UK scores less well than one might expect here is in fact generally considered as a good thing.

In the UK, the press is restricted in what it is allowed to say about some court proceedings (rules here); if a news story notes that "reporting restrictions were not lifted", it's these rules it's talking about.

One might argue - and some do argue - that this constitutes an unfree press. All the same, I'd suggest that it's probably preferable to the alternative.

It's often a live issue in Canada - Canadian media are bound by reporting restrictions broadly comparable to the British ones, but US media in general aren't (First Amendment). And it's not unknown for the American media to prejudice Canadian trials by reporting information that is subject to restrictions in Canada.

As for the US's even worse performance, I imagine that has a lot to do with Iraq - the Pentagon and the White House would never admit that they tell the media what isn't to be reported re that conflict, but you'll never convince me that it doesn't happen.

 
Davini994
427682.  Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:30 am Reply with quote

Thanks for that Suze, very helpful.

Is there a list of all of the considerations? Are ownership rules a factor?

 
suze
427689.  Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:45 am Reply with quote

I did have a quick look for the methodology, and didn't immediately find it. I'll have a better look a bit later on, because I'd like to see it as well.

 
Davini994
427704.  Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:12 pm Reply with quote

I've had a dig too without success.

 
suze
427774.  Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:44 pm Reply with quote

RSF's own commentary on the results can be seen here.

Linked from that page are more detailed commentaries on each continent, a page called "How the index was compiled" (which doesn't actually say what the numbers mean), and a page which reproduces the actual questionnaire that was used for the exercise. That one gives a bit more of a clue as to what the numbers mean.

I discover that the USA was as low as 48th last year. That it has risen to 36th is largely to do with the release of an al Jazeera employee from Guantánamo Bay, but RSF is still critical of American anti-terrorist law, and of the conduct of some aspects of the process of choosing the new president.

 
PDR
427821.  Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:56 pm Reply with quote

But is it an unqualified "good thing"?

A few weeks ago a Fox News newsreader was sacked for refusing to read out a news item which she knew was factually incorrect. When she sued she lost, the judge ruling that the First Amendment meant that a TV news channel had the constitutional right to knowingly broadcast false news and so she had no grounds to refuse to read it.

Personally I'd prefer we adopted the advertising code's "Legal, decent, honest and truthfull" test.

PDR

 
suze
427825.  Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:06 pm Reply with quote

Well yes, there's something in that.

Mind you, one way to look at it is that when one accepts a job with Fox News, one knows that that station has its own agenda. And one presumably accepts that agenda - for public consumption, at least - in accepting the station's pay checks.

In your job, I dare say that at some point you've had to put forward the company's line on some matter or another - even though the company's line was one with which you didn't personally agree. I know I've had to do so a few times.

While the First Amendment gives a news station the right to broadcast false news if it wants to, it also gives that station the right to broadcast true news even if the White House would rather it didn't. And that's the bit that hasn't always been fully upheld in the last few years - to my way of thinking, at least.

 
bobwilson
427881.  Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:27 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
A few weeks ago a Fox News newsreader was sacked for refusing to read out a news item which she knew was factually incorrect. When she sued she lost, the judge ruling that the First Amendment meant that a TV news channel had the constitutional right to knowingly broadcast false news and so she had no grounds to refuse to read it.


PDR


Really? That's QI - got a linky?

 

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