United States ranked 36 in world for press freedom

Although the ACLU has just released their map of the United States’ “constitution-free zones” and although reports of photographers’ confrontations with police and security guards spread like wildfire on the internet, the United States has risen 12 spots to number 36 on Reporters Without Borders’ annual survey of international press freedom. Huffington Post has a nice summary of the report, which examines “every kind of violation directly affecting journalists (such as murders, imprisonment, physical attacks and threats) and news media (censorship, confiscation of newspaper issues, searches and harassment). And it includes the degree of impunity enjoyed by those responsible for these press freedom violations.”

The report explains the United States’ rise (tied with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, South Africa, Spain, and Taiwan, well below Iceland, Luxembourg, and Norway, and well above Iran, China, and North Korea) on the chart:

“The release of Al-Jazeera cameraman Sami Al-Haj after six years in the Guantanamo Bay military base contributed to this improvement. Although the absence of a federal “shield law” means the confidentiality of sources is still threatened by federal courts, the number of journalists being subpoenaed or forced to reveal their sources has declined in recent months and none has been sent to prison. But the August 2007 murder of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey in Oakland, California, is still unpunished a year later. The way the investigation into his murder has become enmeshed in local conflicts of interest and the lack of federal judicial intervention also help to explain why the United States did not get a higher ranking. Account was also taken of the many arrests of journalists during the Democratic and Republican conventions.”

(via lightstalkers)

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