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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid