US joining Haiti in 2014 global press freedom report

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an advocacy group for media rights, has released its yearly World Press Freedom Index, which ranks countries on their treatment of press freedom. The report issues a warning there exists a "growing threat worldwide . . . (a) tendency to interpret national security needs in an overly broad and abusive manner."


The U.S. distinguished itself as having experienced "one of the most significant declines" in its attitude toward press freedom in 2013. It fell 13 places to rank #46 among 180 countries on the index, sandwiched between Romania and Haiti. The news event that most illustrated the U.S.'s hard-hearted stance on investigative reporting was its vilification of National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence leaker, Edward Snowden, as well as covert seizure of phone records stolen from the Associated Press.

Britain, another robust democracy, ranked at #33, falling from #30 the prior year, also over the Snowden affair. The RSF attacked the government for strong-arming The Guardian for its coverage of Snowden's exposé of wholesale spying by the NSA. RSF points out strong democracies like the U.S. and Britain are hypocritical to claim they respect the rule of law, when in fact they perpetrate some of the worst violatations of press freedom.

The bottom-ranked offenders of press freedom were Eritrea, North Korea, and Turkmenistan, all known as censorship hell-holes for journalists covering events there. Not surprisingly, socialist countries Finland, The Netherlands, and Norway were at the top of the rankings.

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