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If you want a graphic expression of how last year’s events have affected Press Freedoms around the world then one should worse than check out the round up by Reporters without Borders Annual Report, a Press Freedom Index, which has just been released.

It does not make good reading for The United States, which makes much of her constitutional rights guaranteeing freedom of expression and the strength of her press.  This year has shown her fall twenty seven places down the table to lie 47th along with Bahrain.  You can catch more and the whole table at Reporters without Borders.  It’s an interesting read.

Not that the UK should be getting too cocky.  She too has shown a fall down to 28 which is still way above the United States.

The top five states with greatest Freedom for Reporters are all European being Finland, Norway, Estonia, Netherlands and Austria.

And the reason for this disgraceful fall from grace?  Well, that has been laid squarely at the treatment of reporters trying to cover the Occupy Movement.  Many journalists had been arrested covering the Occupy Wall Street Protests.  Many were also beaten, and prevented from covering this issue. So bad did it become that NYPD cops had to be spoken to directly regarding the treatment of journalists.

As the site said:

 “Crackdown was the word of the year in 2011. Never has freedom of information been so closely associated with democracy. Never have journalists, through their reporting, vexed the enemies of freedom so much. Never have acts of censorship and physical attacks on journalists seemed so numerous. The equation is simple: the absence or suppression of civil liberties leads necessarily to the suppression of media freedom. Dictatorships fear and ban information, especially when it may undermine them”.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.  President Jefferson.

Copyright David Macadam 2012

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