It was shocking, saddening, and maddening to learn the United States – land of the brave and home of the free – ranks 43rd in the world for freedom of the press. How did our country fall so far, so fast?
Reporters without Borders, according to a report in the Washington Post, which compiles the World Press Freedom Index, put the U.S. No. 43 out of 180 countries. Though we were in the top 25%, such a standing is not good enough for the country that was founded on the valued principle of having a free and unshackled press.
The index is based on an assessment of the legal environment and government threats to journalists. The U.S. fell two spots lower from a year ago, ranking behind a place I never heard of, Burkina Faso.
We have fallen in stature over the last 15 years. The U.S. has ranked as high as 17th but has steadily declined in this century.
The index report noted that there’s a trend “towards adoption of legislation and provisions that threaten the essential conditions for a free press” in many democracies. Things like government surveillance of journalists threaten a viable free press.
Finland, which ranked as the top nation for press freedom for the previous half-dozen years, fell to third this year.
The top nations for this past year are:
The lowest nations are run by notoriously oppressive regimes. The worst five are:
180. North Korea
You can see more information at www.RSF.org. The UK only ranked 40th, Spain 29th, and Canada 22.nd Costa Rica, Switzerland, Jamaica, Belgium, and Iceland rounded out the top 10.
Though Turkey ranked 155th, the authoritarian government ruling the European nation was labeled by Reporters Without Borders as “the world’s biggest prison for media professionals.”
As members of the book publishing community – whether a publisher, promoter, author, marketer, retailer, librarian, editor, or reader – we each must help promote a healthy freedom of the press, here and abroad.
RSF.org stands up for the rights of the media and educates us on their efforts. You can donate money to the cause or help out in other ways. Some governments and very powerful international interests seek to control the press, take ownership of the Internet, and silence dissidents. We all lose when the press doesn’t feel free and supported to do its job.
Thankfully, Reporters Without Borders is here to help. It is the U.S. office of the global organization, Reports Sans Frontieres, the largest press freedom organization in the world with almost 30 years of experience. It has a global network of 150 local correspondents investigating in 130 countries, 11 national offices and a consultative status at the United Nations and UNESCO. RSF says it is “able to have a global impact, gather on-the-ground information, conduct major advocacy campaigns, and assist and defend news providers all across the world.”
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs
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