Freedom of the press 2014: A Glance

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The recently (May 2014) released Freedom of the press 2014 report paints a grim picture of the world. As per the survey, the overall global press freedom has fallen to its lowest level for over a decade. The annual survey is published by the US-based NGO Freedom House since 1980 in relation to democracy, human rights and press freedom.

India's performance

  • India slides to 78th place in Freedom of the press ranking for 2014.  
  • Its our lowest ranking in over a decade putting us in the list of countries with partially free media. 
  • India was given 20th spot last year in the 2013 annual ranking. 

The Best and Worst

  • Sweden alongwith Netherlands and Norway top the ranking with the most independent press in the world.
  • Belarus is the most repressive country for press freedom together with Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

The Findings

  • The survey evaluated 197 countries and territories to conclude the index.
  • 63 (32 percent) countries were rated Free, 68 (35 percent) Partly Free, and the rest 66 (33 percent) qualified as Not Free.
  • Our neighbours China (84th), Pakistan (64th) and Sri Lanka 76 didnt perform much better than us.

Conclusion

  • The decline in media freedom on a global level are driven by governments' efforts to control the message and punish the messenger. 
  • The only region probably offering some positive developments is sub-Saharan Africa, whereas every other region has taken repressive steps to curb the freedom.
  • The steps have been taken amidst internal conflict (Syria, South Sudan, Ukraine), regional uprising (Arab States) or just in order to control the masses (UK & US primarily after wikileaks scandal)
  • The Middle East and North Africa has undergone the worst deterioration.
Practice Questions
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