The Null Device

We're #41!

Australia has come in in 41st place in Reporters Without Borders' annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index; which is below all EU members, several other Eastern European countries, South Africa and Hong Kong; in contrast, New Zealand ranked ninth, only slightly below the 8 nations sharing first place. Australia's dismal showing has to do partly with restricted press access to refugees, though chances are that media ownership concentration, defamation laws and attempts to force journalists to reveal their sources have also contributed.

The bottom of the list is held, predictably, by North Korea (at #167), with Cuba just above it. Saudi Arabia is at #159, three places ahead of China, while Singapore is at #147. Brazil, a popular recent poster child of the Third Way, languishes at #66. The US's arrest of journalists at anti-Bush protests and restrictions on journalistic visas have knocked it down to #22. Meanwhile, in the Middle East, Israel is at #36 (shared with Bulgaria), except in the occupied territories, where it is at #115 (shared with Gabon), though ahead of the Palestinian Authority (#127, slightly better than Egypt and Somalia).

First place is shared by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia and Switzerland.

There are 3 comments on "We're #41!":

Posted by: greatcathy http:// Thu Oct 28 00:02:49 2004

I would've thought we'd be ahead of the US post-Patriot Act...?

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org/ Thu Oct 28 00:48:12 2004

The US has the Bill of Rights, and is a larger, more diverse place; Australia follows the US lead only without the Constitutional protections in the first place, and is also smaller and more parochial. (Witness how >90% of newsmedia are owned by a handful of proprietors, most/all of whom used their influence to get Howard reelected in the last election.)

Posted by: Ben-Gurion Jacarutu http:// Fri Oct 29 09:22:51 2004

And between the libel laws and the fear of 'contempt of court', there isn't that much salacious that can be printed (at least until about 5 years after it has happened).

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