BBG Strategy

Freedom House: Global Press Freedom at 10-Year Low

From the BBG Strategy Blog…

Ecuador, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Paraguay, and Thailand are all downgraded to “Not Free” by Freedom House. Major international broadcasters release a joint statement on World Press Freedom Day…

Just one in six people live in a country with a free press according to Freedom House.

In releasing their Freedom of the Press 2013 report the NGO paints a dim picture of press freedom, with backsliding in several countries driving the overall assessment to its worst showing in more than a decade.

On the positive side, last year’s gains in Tunisia and Libya held, and there were positive developments in Burma, the Caucasus, parts of West Africa.

But the negative developments outweighed the positive, with more sophisticated blocking of new media, backsliding in Greece, and outright downgrades of Ecuador, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Paraguay, and Thailand to the “Not Free” category. Greece, Isreal, and Mali were all downgraded to “Partly Free.”

Dubbed “Worst of the Worst,” the eight lowest ranked countries are Belarus, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Map of press freedoms

Major international broadcasters issued a joint statement saying that global media freedom faces its greatest challenges since the Cold War

“The jamming of satellite broadcasts has become a regular occurrence as regimes seek to block certain services from the being received. This jamming affects area stretching from Northern Europe to Afghanistan and as far south as Northern Africa.  We have also seen Internet blocking of services and cyber-attacks on media organisations all over the world, shortwave jamming and disruption and interference with FM broadcasts. Media freedom has not faced such a concerted campaign of disruption since the end of the Cold War.”

The statement issued on behalf of the representatives of Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France (AEF), Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) [Australia], British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) [United Kingdom], the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) [US], Deutsche Welle (DW) [Germany], Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) [Japan] and Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW).

Marking World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the broadcasters called on all nations to recognize the legitimate role played by international broadcasts in offering free access to global media and coverage of events.