A Deteroration of the Free Press

In Foreign Affairs, human rights, Injustice, media on May 4, 2009 by Editor Z

That is what new findings from an annual report by Freedom House indicates. And the erosion of a Free Press isn’t confined to just a hand full of countries.

Journalists faced an increasingly grim working environment in 2008, with global press freedom declining for a seventh straight year and deterioration occurring for the first time in every region, according to Freedom House’s annual media study. The rollback was not confined to traditionally authoritarian states; with Israel, Italy and Hong Kong slipping from the study’s Free category to Partly Free status.

“The journalism profession today is up against the ropes and fighting to stay alive, as pressures from governments, other powerful actors and the global economic crisis take an enormous toll,” said Jennifer Windsor, Freedom House executive director. “The press is democracy’s first defense and its vulnerability has enormous implications for democracy if journalists are not able to carry out their traditional watchdog role.”

Freedom House formally released the findings from Freedom of the Press 2009 in Washington in front of the organization’s giant Map of Press Freedom at the Newseum. The study indicates that there were twice as many losses as gains in 2008, with declines and stagnation in East Asia of particular concern. While parts of South Asia and Africa made progress, overall these gains were overshadowed by a campaign of intimidation targeting independent media, particularly in the former Soviet Union and the Middle East and North Africa.

We see this evidenced in the recent arrest of two U.S journalists in North Korea, an Iranian blogger who died in prison, and an Iranian-American reporter in Iran. It is the press and the sunshine that it brings to misdeeds that can make tyrannies wilt so that is why they seek to stifle it. So people everywhere must ensure that the light of justice that shines not eclipsed by the power of any state.

Related Items: Top ten worst countries in which to blog? I am talking to you Myanmar. Myanmar gains the top spot as the most repressive country for bloggers, with one blogger even being sentenced to 59 years after shooting and posting video footage following a cyclone that devastated the country in 2008. Syria, Iran, Egypt, Tunisha, Vietnam, China, and Turkmenistan are others on the list.



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