By Mourad Anouar
By Mourad Anouar
Morocco World News
Oklahoma City, May 2, 2012
A survey released Tuesday by Freedom House on Freedom of press confirms that the latter holds steady worldwide.
The watchdog group’s annual press freedom survey was held at a press conference in front of the World Press Freedom map at the Newseum. Presented by David Kramer, president of Freedom House, and Karin Deutsch Karlekar, project director for the Freedom of the Press survey, the findings of the survey pointed to some key developments in global press freedom over the last year. The report came out just before Thursday’s observance of the U.N.-declared World Press Freedom Day.
And as it was expected, most Western countries ranked high in the Washington-based group’s freedom of the press report. But, the United States was marked down slightly due to the heavy-handed police suppression of journalists covering various Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011.
Another significant remark on the report was Italy’s ranking by Freedom House, which rose slightly as media magnate Silvio Berlusconi resigned as premier. Italy’s media, described as “partly free” in the report, seems to struggle among other Western European countries, in which free press enjoys significant freedom.
China, Russia, Iran and Venezuela are described in Freedom House’s report as “detaining and jailing critics, closing media outlets, and bringing cases against journalists.”
The report also said that Russia, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, China and Vietnam have state control of television and radio as a key means of media control.
In authoritarian nations in Africa such as Uganda, Angola and Djibouti, “the authorities cracked down, sometimes violently, on journalists covering the demonstrations.” as Freedom House reported
In Middle East, Karin Deutsch Karlekar and Jennifer Dunham reported that the Arab Spring seems to unleash the media in nations such as Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. Unlike the latter countries, the Arab Spring news was censored in countries such as Syria and Bahrain “The newly opened media environments in countries like Tunisia and Libya, while still tenuous and far from perfect, are critical for the future of democratic development in the region and must be nurtured and protected,” Freedom House’s president David J. Kramer said.
It is to note that Freedom House listed eight nations as the “worst of the worst” for press freedom: Belarus, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
For more info on the report:http://www.freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/Overview%20Essay.pdf