Happy World Press Freedom Day!

Friday, May 3 is World Press Freedom Day. In observation, Reporters Without Borders produced this map exploring the scope of press freedom around the world.

PressFreedom

Most of the findings of the accompanying report  are not particularly surprising… Places experiencing civil unrest and or home to oppressive regimes are pretty bad places to be a journalist. Witness the poor rankings of countries like North Korea, Syria, Somalia, Iran, and Eritrea. The report also notes that 2012 was the deadliest year for journalists worldwide, with some 103 journalists killed, at least 70 of which were killed directly because of their work.

What is interesting, though, the report’s discussion of the impact of the Arab Spring. The report observes that,

After the “Arab springs” and other protest movements that prompted many rises and falls in last year’s index, the 2013 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index marks a return to a more usual configuration. The ranking of most countries is no longer attributable to dramatic political developments. This year’s index is a better reflection of the attitudes and intentions of governments towards media freedom in the medium or long term.”

The report notes that nearly three years after the Arab Spring began, the Middle East region still remains in last place in terms of press freedom. Only one country (Kuwait) places above 100th place globally, with most falling much further in the rankings.

  • Syria, 176th Place
  • Iran, 174th
  • Yemen, 171st
  • Bahrain, 165th
  • Saudi Arabia, 163rd Egypt, 158th
  • Iraq, 150th
  • Oman, 141st
  • Tunisia, 138th
  • Morocco, 136th
  • Jordan, 134th
  • Libya, 131st
  • Algeria, 125th
  • United Arab Emirates, 114th
  • Lebanon, 101st
  • Kuwait, 77th

What do you think? Are you surprised by the lack of press freedoms in the Middle East despite the Arab Spring? Would you have expected the Arab Spring to generate a higher level of concern over freedom of the press? Take the poll or leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

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