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U.S falls to 47th in press freedom rankings after Occupy crackdown

• www.dailymail.co.uk

Sweeping protests around the world made it an extremely difficult year for the media, and tested journalists as never before, the annual report into press freedom reveals.

The annual report by Reporters Without Borders has been released, showing the United States fell 27 points on the list due to the many arrests of journalists covering Occupy Wall Street protests.

The slide in the United States places it just behind Comoros and Taiwan in a group with Argentina and Romania.
 
Under arrest: Journalists covering Occupy Wall Street protests found themselves the target of authorities

Under arrest: Journalists covering Occupy Wall Street protests found themselves a target of authorities

 

Reporters Without Borders said the heightened unrest around the world resulted in a significant shake-up of the group's annual Press Freedom Index, which assesses governments' commitment to protecting media freedoms.

The Paris-based non-governmental Reporters Without Borders has named “crackdown” the word of 2011 in an assessment of global media freedom during a year in which journalists covering sweeping protests were tested as never before.

Despite the big changes, some constants remained. The country with the freest media in the world was Finland, followed by Norway, Estonia, the Netherlands and Austria. Eritrea was last, with North Korea just above.

The United States was not alone in the falling grades: Bahrain fell 29 points because of the crackdown in that country.

Egypt and Syria also fell a few points to languish near the bottom of the pack (166) and (176) respectively.

The group judged that Syria, along with Iran and China, 'seem to have lost contact with reality as they have been sucked into an insane spiral of terror.'

Pakistan was the world’s deadliest country for journalists, and Eritrea came in last in the list of overall press freedom.Syria, where an uprising against the government has been met with a brutal crackdown that has left more than 5,000 people dead, received its worst rating ever at 176.


Press freedom? Journalists sit it out in a hallway as gun-battles continue around the Rixos hotel in Tripoli, Libya, in August last year

Press freedom? Journalists sit it out in a hallway as gun-battles continue around the Rixos hotel in Tripoli, Libya, in August last year

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