News / Middle East

Media Group: Press Freedom Slipping in Some Countries

Media Group: Press Freedom Slipping in Some Countriesi
X
February 12, 2014 1:41 AM
A new Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index cites hotspots in the Middle East, Africa and Asia as being among the worst offenders of press freedom. The journalism rights group also says there has been a significant decline in press freedom in the United States. VOA's Pam Dockins has the story.
Pamela Dockins
A new Reporters Without Borders index cites hot spots in the Middle East, Africa and Asia as being among the worst offenders of press freedom. The journalism rights group also says there has been a significant decline in press freedom in the United States.

Reporters Without Borders says Syria has become an increasingly dangerous place for journalists during the nearly three-year conflict between the government and the opposition.

The group's U.S. director, Delphine Halgand, said Syria ranks near the bottom of the index of 180 countries. "You have to keep in mind that more than 130 news providers have been killed in Syria since the start of the conflict in March 2011, including 45 since last year. On top of that, at least 16 foreign reporters and 26 journalism providers are right now detained, kidnapped or missing," she said.

Elsewhere, Halgand said a "privatization of violence" is problematic in some African countries.

"What we mean is that non-state groups are the main source of violence against the media. This is the case in many countries in Africa like the M23 in the [DRC] Congo or the al-Shabab group in Somalia," said Halgand.

Reporters Without Borders looked at factors including transparency, media independence and level of abuses in its annual ranking of countries.

It says government attempts to crack down on social media sites and bloggers played a role in Vietnam's low index ranking of 174.

Viet Youth for Democracy co-founder Huong Nguyen said several of her friends who are bloggers have been jailed for using social media to express their views.

"The thing with social media is that it is so difficult for the government to control what people are talking about and for people to use and to discuss public affairs in the social media. That is why there has been a lot of focus from the Vietnamese government on restricting the freedom of information on the Internet," she said.

Reporters Without Borders says a government "hunt" for leaks and whistleblowers played a role in propelling the U.S. ranking down 13 positions to 46 on the index.

The group cited cases such as the one involving Bradley Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst sentenced to 35 years in prison for passing classified documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

The New York Times investigative reporter, James Risen, commented on the U.S. ranking on the index. "I think 2013 will go down as the worst year for press freedom in the United States in modern history. I think it's the crackdown on reporters, on whistleblowers and the efforts by the [Obama] administration and the national security apparatus of the government to limit the amount of information that the public can find out about."

Reporters Without Borders says Panama, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia and South Africa are among countries that have made progress toward press freedom over the past year.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid