Monday, April 13, 2009

US Press Freedom Ranked 36th in 2008

When writing my paper last week, I came across an published on March 30, 2009 from The Nation (one of Pakistan's leading English newspapers) with the headline "US Ranked 36th Freest Press in World." This article caught my attention, and after having read it, I realized that the article was not written by The Nation reporters, rather, it was taken from other sources but published in The Nation (no mention of Pakistan's 152nd rank also was a clear indicator that The Nation reporters did not write this article). I did a Google search to find the actual report, and saw that the Huffington Post wrote an article on this back in October, when Reporters Without Borders first released the information. Pakistan was a bit late in revealing this to its readers. I could not find any major US publication that had an article discussing this information (talk about agenda setting!) Instead, a lot of foreign news sources and the AP covered the findings of Reporters without Borders.

Two reasons for US improvement in the ranking (2007 US ranked 48th) were:
- The release of Al-Jazeera cameraman Sami Al-Haj
- The number of journalists being subpoenaed or forced to reveal their sources has declined in recent months and none has been sent to prison.

One of the main takeaways Reporters Without Borders had in this report was the freedom of the press was oftentimes associated with the country's peacefulness.

Furthermore, this is relevant information given the discussion we are going to have on Wednesday regarding ethics in the media and press freedom.

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