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Press freedom

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the but-we-love-freedom dept.

Media 598

GarconDuMonde writes "Reporters San Frontiers has released it's third annual worldwide index of press freedom. Although the majority of top-ranking countries are from northern Europe, it is perhaps more interesting to note where countries such as Switzerland, Italy, the UK and the USA fall (1, 39, 28 and 22, respectively)."

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Isn't Switzerland (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649715)

The country responsible for getting the Indymedia servers pulled?

Re:Isn't Switzerland (1, Informative)

Indy Media Watch (823624) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649784)

Depends how you look at it (or define "responsible").

See: http://indymediawatch.blogspot.com/2004/10/fbi-con fiscates-indy-media-servers-in.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Isn't Switzerland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649844)

The FBI wasn't acting on their own behalf but on behalf of another country.

Re:Isn't Switzerland (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649920)

That's nothing but conjecture. Come back when you have facts to back up your claims.

I disagree (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649723)

We should definitely not press freedom, for any even slight pressure thereon might be very dangerous.

+5, Funny (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649786)

Mod parent up.

Americans talk about freedom (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649738)

... but don't practice it. It's pretty sad when you have to cringe every time you hear "... land of the free ..." Not that the U.S. is a bad place to live, mind you. The United States is the best place to live if you happen to like money.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649745)

You are so full of shit with your knee-jerk, whiney-ass, liberal crap. Move somewhere else you fucking asshat.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (3, Insightful)

mpw2k (538410) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649785)

Speak for yourself... I never cringe when I hear "... land of the free ..." ... neither do my Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Protestant and atheist classmates that are all allowed to believe and practice their faiths exactly as they wish.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (1)

E_elven (600520) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649876)

For another six days, yeah.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649878)

That sort of makes the OP's point for them.
Guess what? There are many many other countries where that very same situation applies.

I think the OP was saying that Americans love to pretend they are the only country that gets it right when it comes to ensuring people's freedoms.

But the truth is that USA is actually behind a great many other countries for true freedom. Take it how you like, but when we see international reports on corruption, the free press, courts, fair trials, rights of citizens - we always see USA coming after about 10-20 other countries or more.

Some of us just get a little annoyed that the Americans are always talking the talk, but are falling behind when it comes to walking the walk :)

Re:Americans talk about freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649960)

> I think the OP was saying that Americans love to pretend they are the only country that gets it right when it comes to ensuring people's freedoms.

OK, show me one example of another country which is more free than The Land of Free, I dare you.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10650001)

Try any of those at the top of the list in the article.

The Land of the Free was only ever intended to be "The Land of the Free From British Taxes" - everything else was just a bonus.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649883)

...my Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Protestant and atheist classmates that are all allowed to believe and practice their faiths exactly as they wish.

Yes, they can all practice their faiths exactly as they wish ... Under God [undergodprocon.org] .

Re:Americans talk about freedom (2, Interesting)

Kogase (811902) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649887)

Er, America isn't the only country that makes this a possibility nowadays, actually. Maybe 200 years ago... Maybe you could come up with a slightly more thoughtful rebuttal?

Re:Americans talk about freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649945)

Er, America isn't the only country that makes this a possibility nowadays, actually. Maybe 200 years ago...

Nope. I can only speak for Poland and the parts of Europe whose history I am most familiar with, but we had *more* freedom of faith 200 years ago than USA had, or even than USA have today. Our chidren didn't have to recite "under God" every day, nor do they have to now - if nothing else. There were parts of our history when we had very little freedom of faith, but it was in the times of Aztecs...

Re:Americans talk about freedom (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649907)

i love the way you phrased it, especially when it comes to your 'atheist classmates' that are allowed to practice their faiths... that's the snag over here (US), is that you are free to believe anything you want provided it involves some imaginary friend and hearing voices in your head; religion, any religion I grant you, but some kind of religion, is pretty much compulsory, and if you don't share in some kind of superstition, you are constantly reminded that you don't really belong there via, e.g., pledge of allegiance to the country AND some religion, prayers imposed to kids at schools, proselytism in public places such as court rooms, politicians constantly referring to it, etc.; i.e., we've got freedom of religion, which falls just a tad short of true freedom of conscience... other than that, yep I agree with you, pretty nice place indeed, we could do a heck of a lot worse.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649979)

that's the snag over here (US), is that you are free to believe anything you want provided it involves some imaginary friend and hearing voices in your head;

That's funny because I am going through psychiatric treatment right now, exactly because I hear voices in my head... Actually, that's not funny at all. (Posting as AC for obvious reasons.)

Re:Americans talk about freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649918)

I hate to tell you this but the following statement is held by many americans. this was sent to me

"Hey guys! I found these facts fascinating. Scroll down to read them all! Our country was founded on Christianity. Anyone who decides to live in the US needs to understand that is how this country is run and they can either accept it or leave! Enjoy...."

personally I find this disturbing

Re:Americans talk about freedom (1)

Jameth (664111) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649940)

The fact that people can send that to you without repurcussions is a further example of the freedom of the press.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10650002)

The fact that people can send that to you without repurcussions is a further example of the freedom of the press.

It's a freedom of corespondainse, not freedom of press. Which doesn't exclude the freedom of press, of course, but nor does it prove it.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (4, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649967)

Just don't wear a T-shirt that says "Support Civil Liberties" on it.

That's chargable as criminal trespass.

KFG

Re:Americans talk about freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649980)

Observer: This is what state run (re)education gets you.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649996)

Oh yeah!

Well me and my Satanist friends are not.

Show me a country where you can worship Satan in peace. Hmph.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10650007)

Speaking as an atheist who was forced to say the pledge, complete with the "one nation, under God" line every morning from first grade through twelfth, I do indeed shake my head and sigh every time I hear "land of the free". I am (now) aware that the administration can not legally force you to, but that won't stop them from trying. Further, that only gives the choice of pretending to be religious or ostracizing yourself, in a predominantly christian school such as mine was.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649800)

shut the fuckup you fucking liberal pussy if you dont wanna live here than fine get the fuck out of here and stop bitching and maybe you gonna change your ming after you live in the europe ruled by godless commies for christ sake!

Re:Americans talk about freedom (2, Insightful)

davesplace1 (729794) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649805)

America has good freedom of the press unless you are taking about "Adult" subjects. Then it is problly illegal in South Carolina.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (1)

luvirini (753157) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649909)

Well, from the news I get also the feeling that if you are a goverment emplyee and want to expose breking of laws by authorities or corruption or similar you cannot go to the press in US currently as the courts will threaten to jail the journalist to get him to tell who you are and most journalists will just cave in.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649835)

I happen to be an American, and I say it with pride.
I'm also a Liberal. I believe in minimal gov't intrusion in social/religious areas, and government regulation of the economy.
I'm a farmer, and I don't see how I'll be able to get to college thanks to bush, my dads job was outsourced to China, and my dream of coding has gone to hell thanks to offshoring.
But though all this, I love my country, and I'll fight to defend it.
Yes, I cringe when I hear "land of the free", but I take pride in the fact that I believe in freedom, even if my friends' parents would rather see my liberal-hippy face being bloodied by riot police.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (1)

wicka_wicka (679279) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649869)

and government regulation of the economy.

That's also known as marxism aka socialism aka communism.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649911)

Alright, yea, bad phrasing.
yes, I believe in socialized medicine.
So you could say I'm sort of Socialist I guess, depending on how you define socialism.
But you're a +5 moron if you think that socialism == communism. Maybe you should actually *look up* the definitions before posting.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (1)

E_elven (600520) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649995)

Socialism is the final step on the journey towards communism. Notably, USSR was and China, Cuba and Vietnam still remain socialist regimes (in name only, realistically they're totalitarian state capitalisms). Socialism is characterized by a strong authoritarian control over the people (whereas in true communism it is not necessary as the communality is fully voluntary).

What you're talking about is normally referred to as 'social democracy' and is generally practiced in European countries and Canada.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10650022)

Thanks.
Shows how braindead an hour of whoring yourself out to colleges can make you.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (1)

smclean (521851) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649870)

Oh come now, you act as if its impossible to get a job coding because of outsourcing to foreign countries.

Is it just a fluke that me and the majority of my friends are programmers, many of us without even any college experience, all of us making more than 40k a year?

I wouldn't give up on coding as a career just yet. The majority of companies are certainly willing to pay to have the programmer in the building rather than thousands of miles away.

Re:Americans talk about freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649890)

Thats good to hear, when your teachers repeat "You need to get A's otherwise you are worthless" in your ear every day for 4 years, it's hard to avoid being discouraged. I'm told I'm plently smart, just not good at busywork. Then again, I'm a highschool student, so if the offshoring trend continues...

Re:Americans talk about freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649900)

Yes, right... And who do you think have more freedom than the USA?! European communists? Islam Muslims? Please!

Re:Americans talk about freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649975)

The United States is the best place to live if you happen to like money

I know I don't! I mean, who wants money?

oMg wTf (1)

repruhsent (672799) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649741)

I hAtE iT wHeN pEoPlE tYpE lIkE tHiS wHeN tHeY pOsT oN fOrUmS. iT rEaLlY pIsSeS mE oFf. FuCk yOu CoWbOi! FuCk yOu mIcHaEl! FuCk YoU CmDrFaYgOt!

Re:oMg wTf (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649761)

I'd mod you down, but I can't read that.

Press Freedom absolutely necessary (5, Insightful)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649743)

Comparing the Western European countries with vast freedoms of the press to the dictatorial or communist countries with outright persecution of journalists is eye-opening. What is most disturbing is that in this day and age that there still exists repression of thought in some countries. Control the media and you can control the minds of your subjects. To have a truly free thinking society means that the media cannot be controlled.

The only problem with this is that it leads to significant growth of tabloid press. Look at Europe again with its outrageous papers like the Sun or Pravda. Just because the press is free does not mean that the information is better, just more voluminous.

Like the internet, anyone in a free press country can publish what they like. Like the internet, it is up to the reader to filter out the gems from the trash.

Re:Press Freedom absolutely necessary (4, Insightful)

asciiwhite (679872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649774)

Look at Europe again with its outrageous papers like the Sun or Pravda. Just because the press is free does not mean that the information is better, just more voluminous.

Look at USA again with its outrageous media conglomerates like Fox. Just because the press is free does not mean that the information is better, just more voluminous.

Re:Press Freedom absolutely necessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649795)

Quite the contrary. Regardless of their bias, Fox reports the same news as every other mainstream media outlet. They are not tabloid, as far as tabloids go.

Re:Press Freedom absolutely necessary (5, Insightful)

saforrest (184929) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649857)

Quite the contrary. Regardless of their bias, Fox reports the same news as every other mainstream media outlet. They are not tabloid, as far as tabloids go.

Maybe the same as every other mainstream American media outlet, but there is a hell of lot of news they don't report on.

As well, Fox News tends to have a habit of covering stories on issues which could be politically damaging for the Republican Party only after the stories have gained enough momentum in other media that they can no longer be ignored.

Re:Press Freedom absolutely necessary (2, Funny)

NeonGoat (824596) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649901)

The only problem with this is that it leads to significant growth of tabloid press
Problem???
Well then I ask you: How am I going to know when Jesus is spotted, who the fattest person is, how white Michael Jackson is today, and where the martians are? And they mark your post "insightful"...

Re:Press Freedom absolutely necessary (3, Informative)

binkzz (779594) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649948)

Look at Europe again with its outrageous papers like the Sun or Pravda

For what it's worth, the Sun is American owned (Rupert Murdoch) and Pravda is Russian only. It's hard to specify "European" newspapers, because there are no international European newspapers, only national ones.

What is most disturbing is that in this day and age that there still exists repression of thought in some countries.

Not at all, we in the western world haven't had complete freedom of press and speech for a long time, but if it were up to Bush, this freedom would be taken away again ("There ought to be limits to freedom."):

http://kookaburra.typepad.com/weblog/2004/09/biker _against_b.html [typepad.com]
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/1015-06.ht m [commondreams.org]
http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/08/28/rnc.bike .protest/ [cnn.com]
http://wcbs880.com/rnc/rnc_story_244091236.html [wcbs880.com]

Freedom of press and speech don't evolve gradually. People have fought and died so we can write the truth and speak our minds. This battle is still continuing in Asia where people are killed for releasing the wrong thoughts or turning against the government. Before freedom finds a home there, a lot of battles will be fought and a lot of people will still suffer. To say the realization of this is eye-opening is naive.

It is not to say that the freedom we now have is permanent. Our governments constantly test us to see how far they can go. We still have to fight to keep our freedom. It will never be a given as long as people are led by greed for money and hunger for power.

I will use my press freedom to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10650010)

Red Sox are world champions! WOOOOOO!!!

Re:Press Freedom absolutely necessary (5, Insightful)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 9 years ago | (#10650018)

"Control the media and you can control the minds of your subjects. To have a truly free thinking society means that the media cannot be controlled."

Not even by corporations nor by shareholders nor managing directors.

The reason that I believe that democracy cannot properly function in modern 'media-rich' societies is exactly this; who controls the media controls, among other things, *voting*behaviors* (I believe that human beings are extremely amenable to suggestion).

Any media coverage of political matters risks being used as a tool to control voting behaviors.

I like the *idea* of democracy but I fail to see how this sort of problem can be circumvented at all.

Middle East (3, Insightful)

Indy Media Watch (823624) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649750)

It's interesting to note the results and see why it's difficult to trust ANY news coming from Iraq.

How are we expected to know what's really going on when reporters feel threatened and ordinary Iraqis still don't trust the media after years of it being state controlled?

There are other documented examples [honestreporting.com] or Arab gangs intimidating the press to sing their own tune and it pretty well rights off any ability for readers to discern between news versus propaganda.

Re:Middle East (1)

masterLoki (825962) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649889)

I agree, How can someone say that those statics are true. Like in the cartoon I'm Weasel, that's a "troo story". No one belives anymore in Bush or U.S. Media (I'd never do)... Freedom, they should define what Freedom is. if that means that you'll be jailed 'cause you expressed yourself and everyone will know it they're rigth. But like in México, in 1968 (AND several decades before AND after that). In the "Matanza of Tlatelolco". It's well known that here (in México) the C.I.A. was involved as well as the U.S. goverment. They say NO to comunist (I'm not a comunist nor a capitalist) but killed lots of student from U.N.A.M. (Universidad Autonoma de México), I.P.N.(Instituto Politecnico Nacional) and several High Schools Student (~2000), not to mention families that lived in the Deparments of Tlatelolco. Why did they do that; only 'case they didn't agree with the goverment and what to express it. That's live with minimal (or not) freedom...

Re:Middle East (1)

luvirini (753157) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649976)

When it comes to things from middle east you can usually get atleast somewhat better picture if check out multiple sources information for each piece of news to try to get the different slants..

I tend to try to look up any news in things like:
http://english.aljazeera.net/ [aljazeera.net] Aljazeera for a quite extreme view.
http://www.gulfnews.com/ [gulfnews.com] GulfNews as example of moderate arab media a bit further away.
and many others as time and intrest permits.

How did they decide? (4, Insightful)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649763)

"Reporters Without Borders compiled the index by asking its partner organisations (14 freedom of expression organisations in five continents), its 130 correspondents around the world, as well as journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists, to answer 52 questions to indicate the state of press freedom in 167 countries"

So this leaves lots unsaid. Basically, if correspondents say they don't have press freedom, they don't. Doesn't seem like a very scientific study to me.

Re:How did they decide? (4, Insightful)

gollum123 (810489) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649807)

Also the study did not address anything about the inherent bias in the media. The fact that the government does not control the media does not mean that we get unbaised coverage of the news. And a lot of times the ownership of the media is not even clear to judge which side they are more baised against. This is as dangerous as govt. controlling the media because people think that the media is free and fair which is not true.

Re:How did they decide? (4, Insightful)

luvirini (753157) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649809)

I think you ae partly missing the point.

There are no really objective ways of measuring press freedom, as in the all repressed countires the press uses self-censure.

Indeed you can mesure how many journalists are in jail and how many journalists are required to give up their sources and such on certain level, but the "but I cannot write about those things" cannot be measured in objective way.

Thus the only way to try to get a grip on these issues is to ask the people in question, with anonymity.

Re:How did they decide? (2, Insightful)

Indy Media Watch (823624) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649827)

Basically, if correspondents say they don't have press freedom, they don't

But when have reporters ever looked deeper than a quote which they liked and which served their bias?

See: An Open Letter to Reporters Without Borders [narconews.com] which includes the comment: "Given that Reporters Without Borders receives 44 percent of its income from the European Commission, you are in no position to criticize any government for using speech".

Given this, and other comments in this thread, I would apply a healthy dose of skepticism...

Re:How did they decide? (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649891)

The rankings are accompanied by numbers in the righthand column which seem to be some sort of numerical index on the basis of which they constructed the rankings. Unfortunately, they don't, as far as I can tell, explain what these numbers mean.

It is possible, however, to get a better idea of the basis for their characterization of the various countries. The English language section doesn't have much information (and has some screwed up links), but if you go to either the French or Spanish sections and click on the annual report and from there click on one of the regional reports, you get a summary for that region with a list of countries in a column to the right. Click on the name of a country to get the report on that country. These give you a pretty good idea of what the issues in that country are.

Indeed (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649982)

So this leaves lots unsaid. Basically, if correspondents say they don't have press freedom, they don't. Doesn't seem like a very scientific study to me.
Indeed, they should of used a cyclotron or at least a bunsen burner.

Free Speech in Denmark?? (2, Interesting)

freddie (2935) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649769)

That's the country on the top of the list.

The truth is its worse than in the U.S.

In Denmark you can be jailed [wired.com]
for making a comment online if a judge determines that it is racist.

Makes you wonder what the motivation behind this study is.

Re:Free Speech in Denmark?? (2, Informative)

JoeBuck (7947) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649801)

And in the US you can be jailed for your comments online for any of a variety of reasons: because your comments are interpreted as a threat is just one.

Re:Free Speech in Denmark?? (0, Troll)

DLR (18892) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649858)

Reference please? Or is this just more Bushwacking in a weak disguise?

(Disclaimer: I am a US citizen who is not in favor of numerous actions of the current US President, so spare me your tirades and personal epithets. I am interested in substance, not propaganda. See sig for further political views.)

Re:Free Speech in Denmark?? (1)

E_elven (600520) | more than 9 years ago | (#10650021)

The GP is completely unfair. The U.S. has even established 'Free Speech Zones' to protect the first amendment.

Re:Free Speech in Denmark?? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649806)

Speak out against the Bush admin such as fighting against the deal with haliburton or prison treatment in either Iraq, or gitmo bay, or against the patriot act, or.....

See where you end up then.

Besides, I do not think it was about his being racists so much as trying to steer similar sentiments.

Re:Free Speech in Denmark?? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649811)

I guess in Denmark racist comments are considered much like libel or slander. They have the same intent and effect after all, but directed towards a group and not an individual.

Re:Free Speech in Denmark?? (5, Insightful)

mjtg (173905) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649834)

That's nothing. You can be jailed [guantanamo.com] anywhere in the world if the US president thinks you're a terrorist. Give me a Danish judge any day.

Re:Free Speech in Denmark?? (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649846)

Danes might be interested in speaking on a network like mine. The internet isn't our network anymore. Anyone who acts like it is, is just begging for trouble...

I am amazed that US is so high. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649771)

I would have thought that we were closer to about 40-50. Sadly, we are no where near the free country that we like to believe. In fact, we are much closer to USSR-1955 than we are to US-1955.

Re:I am amazed that US is so high. (2, Informative)

luvirini (753157) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649838)

well, close to the time you indicated (1954) US still had Senator McCarthy, so I am not sure what you mean?

Re:I am amazed that US is so high. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649921)

Well, these days, we have
  • A traitor in the white house, but little is being done about it.
  • Ashcroft has chased down and destroyed an innocent individual about the anthrax, even though there is enough evidence to say that the job involved no less than 2 ppl, and I think it was closer to 4.
  • Patriot Act has allowed Ashcroft/bush to abuse his authority and get away with it. In particular, they were bugging some politician over on the east coast.
  • Much of what was opened is now closed with regard to government operation and its' mistakes.
  • Skilling/Lay will almost certainly have all charges dropped.
  • FCC disallows the merger of echo/dish, with a spin-off, but allows ATT/comcast merger, which would have the same effect only on cable.

while we suffered McCarthy, it was still a freer america (of course, it was simplier times).

Re:I am amazed that US is so high. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649926)

Like most slashdot readers I skipped the article.
I would expect any objective measurement to rank the USA numba 1. Does ANY country have free speech like we do? Between lible and defamation law I think all countries lag behind.Of course with our "hostile enviorment" sexual harassment civil case law we are trying desperately to "catch up".
Oh if you don't understand why free speech = a free press you may not undertstand our other freedoms.
Perhaps the USA ranks low because others do not have the freedom to praise us.

Media self-censorship a function of consolidation. (4, Insightful)

Behrooz (302401) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649773)

I think that the biggest threat to the free press in the United States today comes from the owners of media conglomerates, not the government. The continuing centralization of media ownership and the ongoing lobbying campaign in support of media consolidation leave us with an oligarchy of giant media groups. Often, the major media outlets of a city are owned by one or two large corporations, with interlocking ownership.

Under those conditions, the views of the owners are propagated without check, because there simply is no real independent mass media in most parts of the US today. They censor themselves, so the government doesn't have to.

Re:Media self-censorship a function of consolidati (1)

ggeezz (100957) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649816)

So you're saying the freedom of the press is limited those who own one . . . interesting.

Honestly though, that is rapidly changing with the advent of the Internet.

Freedom of the press always belonged to publishers (1)

Jim McCoy (3961) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649949)

So you're saying the freedom of the press is limited those who own one . . . interesting.

And this has always been the case.

Honestly though, that is rapidly changing with the advent of the Internet.

This is the new factor, and one that will be "interesting" to watch in the near future. The problem with using the internet as your news source is that you are reduced to making uninformed decisions about which particular internet pundit to listen to. There are few, if any, "internet" news sources which actually are a source of news, but a lot of monkeys banging on keyboard who are ready to interpret the news for you. [e.g. Just because a news report comes from the CBC, BBC, El Pais, or Al-Jazerra does not make it any more credible, it is just another data point that someone will use to spin an event...]

Is this any better? I really don't know.

Re:Media self-censorship a function of consolidati (1)

Snoopy77 (229731) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649832)

Spot on. Exactly the same reason why Australia found itself down the list as well.

Re:Media self-censorship a function of consolidati (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649833)

when you live in a corporate state like the us it is hard to distinguish the two

Re:Media self-censorship a function of consolidati (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649938)

I think the internet is pretty dang independent. I mean you dont get much more independent then a free for all. I think what the big problem is that the news that is owned by corporations tends to be catered to the masses. so its mono.

Re:Media self-censorship a function of consolidati (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10650008)

Saw an article on just this topic at http://www.cornellsun.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2004 /10/27/417f2e371f8fc [cornellsun.com] . Might be worth a look if your interested in it.

How Can the US be so low? (1)

The Islamic Fundamen (728413) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649776)

I mean the US is where freedom of the press started. And how is Europe so high, with their lefty media. And furthermore how is free press defined? The ratio between commie media to real media?

MOD ME DOWN!

Anyone have more info on this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649778)

Violations of the privacy of sources, persistent problems in granting press visas and the arrest of several journalists during anti-Bush demonstrations kept the United States (22nd) away from the top of the list.

Were they arrested for reporting on a protest, arrested for protesting, or arrested for breaking the law during a protest?

USA/Canada not that bad... (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649781)

Here's what they had to say about the USA and Canada The two North American giants score well A police raid in Canada on the home of journalist Juliet O'Neil and the national regulatory authority's stand against the pan-Arab radio station Al-Jazeera and the local station CHOI FM downgraded the country to 18th place. Violations of the privacy of sources, persistent problems in granting press visas and the arrest of several journalists during anti-Bush demonstrations kept the United States (22nd) away from the top of the list. Really, we're being accused of minor things in the grand scheme of things... the top of the list contries are just small enough to be lucky to have not had any incidents.

Bush sh1t (1)

MouseR (3264) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649989)

Given this site [cnn.com] or this story [slashdot.org] , I say US position raked as 22 to be bull.

in soviet russia (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649782)

hey you!!! Russia did not come in 140th place...it's a capitalist lie.

Reason why the Swiss are #1 (5, Insightful)

Faustust (819471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649797)


The reason is that they allow themselves to be completely neutral. They don't care if they have George Bush's money in a bank account or Saddam Hussein's money, it's all the same to them.

When a country's government is neutral, it allows for the media to be more openly objective. These laws allow for equal treatment of everyone. The only problem with that is you are --I hate to sound cliche-- "helping terrorism."

Re:Reason why the Swiss are #1 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649818)

Or helping dictators, criminals, and terrorists hide money from the international community. Also provides the worst movie plots in the world.

Re:Reason why the Swiss are #1 (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649903)

I will never understand why the Swiss weren't invaded during WWII.

It would have been a number one priority for me, no matter which side I was on - I hate people who deliberately hide behind the veneer of neutrality through avarice and greed. Or maybe cowardice - I guess a Swiss will now reply angrily.

(Unless I want to open a bank account of course. Then I'm sure they would be neutral and all smiles again)

Re:Reason why the Swiss are #1 (1)

Kogase (811902) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649927)

Or maybe cowardice - I guess a Swiss will now reply angrily. Says the Anonymous Coward... Seriously, what do the Swiss have to hide from? Nothing, because they are neutral. Not giving a shit about the pointless scuffles that break out between bigger countries doesn't make you a coward. I'm American.

Re:Reason why the Swiss are #1 (4, Insightful)

zx75 (304335) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649923)

Helping, or failing to hinder? Glass is half-full/half-empty here. Switzerland doesn't aid and abet terrorism, does not provide a refuge for wanted criminals, they take care of themselves and expect the rest of the world to do the same.

In truth, if some larger more influential and powerful nations *ahem* took an attitude more in line with the Swiss, there would be less conflict in this world of ours.

Re:Reason why the Swiss are #1 (1)

Man in Spandex (775950) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649930)

That is a very wrong cliche.

If you ask me, by the way you put it, I can say that every country is helping terrorism. There are far too much things happening in the world that we do not see with our own eyes.

Today as we speak, the almighty dollar can manipulate people in ways you can't imagine. I mean, look at SCO, look at M$, look at RIAA, look at Nintendo, look at Oil companies like exxon, LOOK AT THE U.S IN THE 80'S WHEN THEY HELPED SADDAM FOR THE IRAN/IRAQ WAR and much more examples. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that mega corporation OR goverements are after money and that they will get it no matter what.

If Switzerland makes its cash from the banks by having the billions from whomever, then they are happy. That agree with you, they could careless but I doubt another country would care more. In fact put USA in the case of Switzerland and I would bet my bloody two shoes that the U.S would be damn happy to hold the cash of the terrorists like Saddam.

They didn't forget about #32... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649817)

They didn't forget Poland...

44 journalists killed in Iraq, 1 by american (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649842)

Continuing war has made Iraq the most deadly place on earth for journalists in recent years, with 44 killed there since fighting began in March last year.

scratch one concerning the abc cameraman (or another big network?) who was shot by americans for censorship purposes which we ignore

(-10 trollbaggot)

Jealous vs. Envious (4, Insightful)

wsherman (154283) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649867)

Americans frequently claim that others are "jealous" of their freedom.

It's interesting that they use "jealous" rather than "envious" because "jealous" implies a limited resource (two women wanting to date the same man, for example) whereas "envious" implies an unlimited resource (envying your friend's new computer - new computers are available to anyone who wants to buy one).

There seems to be a subconscious fear in the United States that if the rest of the world gets "freedom" or "wealth" that the United States will somehow lose it.

There is no reason the whole world can't have high levels of freedom and a high standard of living and high levels of education.

The fear that the United States is preventing other countries from having these things seems to lead to the fear that if other countries get these things then the United States will lose them.

Of course, depsite what most Americans seem to think, the United States doesn't come in first in most measures of quality of life (freedom of press, per capita income, education level, etc.) anyway so it's not clear what they are so worried about.

Re:Jealous vs. Envious (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649977)

...so it's not clear what they are so worried about.

We're worried about morons who construct elaborate conspiracies out of the semantical mis-use of a word.

Re:Jealous vs. Envious (1, Informative)

general_re (8883) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649978)

Americans frequently claim that others are "jealous" of their freedom.

I've been an American for several decades now, and I've never heard any such thing. Perhaps you can name some Americans who claim this, of the masses who "frequently" do so. Be sure to include addresses and phone numbers.

Decline in press freedom (2, Interesting)

Brian_Warner (765805) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649899)

It is sad and somewhat disturbing that my old home country, South Africa is only four places behind the bastion of the free world. Remembering back to the censorship and talking to those still there, I worry about what we don't hear in the mainstream (or perhaps any) press in the US. When did this situation start to occur, i wonder?

Everyone saw it live on Tee-Vee! (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649904)


Surely the major goal of the co-ordinated 911 attackers was to instigate a defensive and vulnerable posture from US government, media and population.

There can be no better horrific message than one which is seen worldwide in real time.

old media (2, Interesting)

feelyoda (622366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649905)

You have 100% freedom with blogs, and they don't have borders.

My examples here [blogspot.com] and here [blogspot.com] and in my sig. Visit them and enjoy your freedoms.

Pundits are not reporters... (1)

Jim McCoy (3961) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649983)

While I am sure you think that you provide some useful interpretation of the news and events happening in the world outside your living room, have you actually ever provided news?

Didn't think so.

Until you do, please do not pretend you are a journalist. You have the same place in the news food chainas the people who write letters to the editor do... You may think you have an interesting perspective or point of view perhaps, but do not imagine yourself to ever be in the same class as the people who put thier lives on the line to actually tell the rest of the world what is happening.

Not My Usual "Freedom of the Press" (3, Interesting)

Jameth (664111) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649917)

In general, it refers to how much freedom members of the press are given, not to how free speech/publication is. For example, the US is cited for trouble giving press visas, and the arrest of reporters during demonstrations. It makes no mention of any other restrictions on speech, no mention of a climate that is hostile to some forms of the press, no mention of the way that the president grants the media access and chooses questions.

The study seems to completely ignore non-official members of the press. A few years back, this would have been fine. However, the formality of the press is dispersing. Just look at the blogging community. That's the press. I think it's a useful metric, but definitely not the final statement on the issue.

Re:Not My Usual "Freedom of the Press" (1)

Foktip (736679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10649994)

Exactly. THis whole thing is kinda pointless unless youre a reporter planning on travelling around!

So yeah, non-biased press is the more common thing people consider when they think of free press. If they were to compare press on this scheme they would have to do serious research and study to determine how freely the media releases a variety of viewpoints based on actual reporting, the results would be different. In that situation Canada and the US would be much farther apart in their rating, as would other countries with an ecenomically propagated self-censoring media structure. Its countries where this happens that are going to be a greater problem in the future! Whats the point in Jailing disobedient media when there is none left??

Re:Not My Usual "Freedom of the Press" (1)

Jim McCoy (3961) | more than 9 years ago | (#10650004)

The study seems to completely ignore non-official members of the press. [...] That's the press.

How exactly are bloggers "members of the press"? They do not create news, they talk about it. Bloggers are pundits, not reporters. There is a difference. A very big difference.

Getting stupider every day (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10649961)

"It is" contracts to "it's".
Putting an apostrophe in the possessive is a mistake.

RED SOX WIN!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10650005)

The curse is finished! Congrats!
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