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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs