Is ranked fifty-third in a global freedom of the press index:
Some poor countries, such as Mauritania and Haiti, improved their record in a global press freedom index this year, while France, the United States and Japan slipped further down the scale of 168 countries rated, the group Reporters Without Borders said yesterday.
The news media advocacy organization said the most repressive countries in terms of journalistic freedom -- such as North Korea, Cuba, Burma and China -- made no advances at all.
The organization's fifth annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index tracks actions against news media through the end of September. The group noted its concern over the declining rankings of some Western democracies as well as the persistence of other countries in imposing harsh punishments on media that criticize political leaders.
Although it ranked 17th on the first list, published in 2002, the United States now stands at 53, having fallen nine places since last year.
"Relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of 'national security' to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his 'war on terrorism,' " the group said.
"The zeal of federal courts which, unlike those in 33 U.S. states, refuse to recognize the media's right not to reveal its sources, even threatens journalists whose investigations have no connection at all with terrorism," the group said.
Lucie Morillon, the organization's Washington representative, said the index is based on responses to 50 questions about press freedom asked of journalists, free press organizations, researchers, human rights activists and others.
But of course we can ignore such reports. Because they must be tainted by leftiness.