News / Africa

World Press Freedom Declines

People take part in a flashmob to mark World Press Freedom Day in Tbilisi, Georgia, May 3, 2012.
People take part in a flashmob to mark World Press Freedom Day in Tbilisi, Georgia, May 3, 2012.
Carla Babb
​Just one out of six people across the globe enjoyed a free press last year. Freedom House President David Kramer says the global decline in press freedom is a huge concern.

"A free press is critical to any country's democratic development. It acts as a check and balance. It acts as a check on corruption. It promotes transparency. It promotes good government, and so a  free press is indispensable," Kramer said.  

The report says the percentage of people enjoying a free media environment fell to its lowest point in more than a decade due to repression by authoritarian regimes, political instability and threats from radical Islamists.  

Mansour Ali is a reporter in the tribal areas of Pakistan, one of 64 countries the group says is "unfree" for media.

"Security is the foremost problem, because just two days ago my colleague was injured in a suicide attack and another was killed," Ali said.

Mali, once Africa's freest media environment, suffered the year's biggest decline in press freedom. It slid from a "free press" nation to one of 70 "partly free" countries following a military coup and the capture of its northern half by Islamist militants.

In Europe, Greece also slid into the partly free category. Its economic troubles led to widespread staff cuts in the media and closures.

In the Middle East, Libya and Tunisia retained gains in press freedom won during the Arab Spring revolts.  But in Egypt the media environment declined and is now described as unfree.

Karin Karlekar of Freedom House, says many factors are behind Egypt's decline.



"Partly it was the new constitution, which was worrying in terms of the provisions for freedom of expression, the polarization of the media after the president's election and the very high levels of attacks and harassment of journalists, particularly by Islamist groups," Karlekar said.

Despite the declines, the report noted improvement in some countries, including Burma.

"Compared to where it was two years ago, it has been a huge improvement, and so in that regard I would say it is a model for other repressive governments," Karlekar said.

The world’s eight worst-rated countries for press freedom-dubbed the worst-of-the-worst, were Belarus, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Independent media in these states are nonexistent or barely able to operate.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ActivistFreedom from: San Francisco
May 03, 2013 6:40 PM
Thank you for spreading the word on this! Pen.org released a report today, a piece 5 years in the making, which chronicles creativity, restraint and the general state freedom of expression in China. We’re trying to help the report #LeapTheFirewall to show support for the Chinese people. And, with a bit of luck, help jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo gain support for his release. We wondered if you would help us spread the word.

by: Jarrad from: NewZealand
May 02, 2013 7:23 PM
Press TV is free but being banned by the west

by: Anonymous
May 02, 2013 6:57 PM
this news site is obviously government run since you don't tell the truth about who actually censors Irans media from the world

by: JohnC from: New Zealand
May 02, 2013 3:28 PM
The press in Israel is not "partly free". It is subject to intensive military censorship. It is certainly not freer than the press in Jordan or Saudi Arabia, which you say are not free.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs