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Freedom House: Freedom of the Press 2012


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Report on the global freedom of the press published by Freedom House. Available at:

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Freedom House: Freedom of the Press 2012

  1. 1. Freedom of the Press 2012Breakthroughs and Pushback in the Middle East selected data from freedom house’s annual press freedom index
  2. 2. PRESS FREEDOM IN 2011: BREAKTHROUGHS AND PUSHBACK IN THE MIDDLE EAST by Karin Deutsch Karlekar and Jennifer DunhamThe year 2011 featured precarious but Tunisia made single-year leaps of a sizepotentially far-reaching gains for media freedom practically unheard of in the 32-year history ofin the Middle East and North Africa. Major steps the report.forward were recorded in Egypt, Libya, and At the same time, press freedom continuedTunisia, where longtime dictators were removed to face obstacles and reversals in many parts ofafter successful popular uprisings. While trends the world. China, which boasts the world’s mostin these countries were not uniformly positive, sophisticated system of media repression,with important setbacks to democratic prospects stepped up its drive to control both old and newin both Egypt and Libya toward year’s end, the sources of news and information through arrestsmagnitude of the improvements—especially in and censorship. Other authoritarian powers—Tunisia and Libya—represented major break- such as Russia, Iran, and Venezuela—resorted tothroughs in a region that has a long history of a variety of techniques to maintain a tight gripmedia control by autocratic leaders. The gains on the media, detaining some press critics,more than offset declines in several other closing down media outlets and blogs, andcountries in the Middle bringing libel or defa-East. And even the great- In 2011, Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt mation suits againstest declines, in Bahrain improved to Partly Free as media journalists.and Syria, reflected the freedom expanded with the fall of Another disturbingregimes’ alarmed and longtime dictators. development in 2011 wasviolent reactions to tena- a decline in press freedomcious protest movements, whose bold demands in several well-established democracies, mostfor greater freedom included calls for a more notably Chile and Hungary. As a result of statusopen media environment. downgrades in a number of previously Free The improvements in the Arab world were countries over the past few years, the proportionthe most significant findings of Freedom of the of the global population that enjoys a Free pressPress 2012: A Global Survey of Media has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade.Independence, the latest edition of an annual The report found that only 14.5 percent of theindex published by Freedom House since 1980. world’s people—or roughly one in six—live inThe gains came on the heels of eight consecutive countries where coverage of political news isyears of decline in the global average press robust, the safety of journalists is guaranteed,freedom score, a phenomenon that has affected state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, andpractically every region in the world. the press is not subject to onerous legal orFurthermore, they were accompanied by positive economic pressures. Deterioration was also seenchanges in several key countries outside the in a number of Partly Free media environments,Middle East and North Africa: Burma, such as Ecuador, Macedonia, Malawi, Uganda,Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and and Ukraine.Zambia. Other countries that registered progressinclude Georgia, Nepal, Niger, Sierra Leone, Key Trends in 2011and Togo. Three of the countries with major gains—  New Media—Promise and Limits: NewBurma, Libya, and Tunisia—had for many years media and citizen journalism made majorendured media environments that were among contributions to both the Egyptian andthe world’s most oppressive. Both Libya and Tunisian uprisings and were crucial to the
  3. 3. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 creation of a new and potentially more the opposition included in a list of demands democratic political dynamic in Russia. the creation of a public television station Even in Syria, where the foreign media, that would be free of Kremlin control. Since including the influential Qatar-based first taking power in 2000, Putin has made satellite network Al-Jazeera, were refused control of national television the foundation entry, ordinary citizens were able to use of his authoritarian system, transforming a mobile-telephone cameras to record regime medium that had been diverse and critical atrocities and prevent the government from into a conduit for both propaganda and escaping global scrutiny. Nevertheless, frivolous distraction. Other authoritarian- events in countries such as Egypt and Russia minded leaders—Hugo Chávez in demonstrated that while new media— Venezuela, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, particularly when amplified by traditional the presidents of most Eurasian states, the mass media—can be quite effective at Communist leaders of China and Vietnam— disseminating news of government abuses have similarly retained or extended their and mobilizing civic action against illiberal control of television news. regimes, they play a much less significant role in the construction of democratic  Need for Vigilance in Democracies: institutions, especially in societies where Various pressures impinged on press most of the population still gets its freedom in democratic countries as diverse information from state-controlled broadcast as India, Israel, Italy, South Africa, and outlets. South Korea. Heightened harassment of journalists trying to cover protest Repression in Wake of Arab Spring: movements contributed to a decline in Authoritarian regimes around the world, Chile’s status, from Free to Partly Free. And fearing domestic unrest, censored news of following a sharp numerical slide in 2010, the Arab uprisings. They employed Hungary was downgraded to Partly Free due techniques ranging from information to concerted efforts by the conservative blackouts in the state media, as in Zimbabwe government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Ethiopia, to sophisticated internet and to seize control over the legal and regulatory text-message filtering, as in China. framework for media. This two-year drop of However, some people in these countries 13 points in what had long been a Free were able to follow events in the Middle country is extremely unusual in the history East via satellite television networks and the of the index, but it demonstrates that media internet, or in China’s case by using freedom cannot be taken for granted even in circumvention tools to evade online censors. seemingly well-established democracies. And in nations where antigovernment protests did take hold, such as Uganda,  Fragile Freedoms in Latin America: Angola, and Djibouti, the authorities Chile’s decline to Partly Free and major cracked down, sometimes violently, on setbacks in Ecuador are the latest in a series journalists covering the demonstrations. of negative developments in the region over the past decade. Whether due to violence by Television Wars: While a dramatic growth criminal groups, as in Mexico and in cable and satellite channels has broadened Honduras, or government hostility to media media diversity in a number of countries criticism, as in Venezuela, Argentina, and over the previous decade or more, state Bolivia, media freedom is on the defensive control of domestic broadcast media remains in much of Central and South America. the norm in many societies and is a key method of restricting critical content. In the aftermath of mass demonstrations in Russia to protest the presidential candidacy of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, members of 2
  4. 4. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 The Global Picture in 2011 What the Index Measures Of the 197 countries and territories assessedThe Freedom of the Press index assesses during 2011, including the new country of Souththe degree of print, broadcast, and internet Sudan, a total of 66 (33.5 percent) were ratedfreedom in every country in the world, Free, 72 (36.5 percent) were rated Partly Free,analyzing the events and developments of and 59 (30 percent) were rated Not Free. Thiseach calendar year. Ratings are balance marks a shift toward the Partly Freedetermined through an examination of category compared with the edition coveringthree broad categories: the legal 2010, which featured 68 Free, 65 Partly Free,environment in which media operate; and 63 Not Free countries and territories.political influences on reporting and The analysis found that only 14.5 percent ofaccess to information; and economic the world’s inhabitants lived in countries with apressures on content and the dissemination Free press, while 45 percent had a Partly Freeof news. press and 40.5 percent lived in Not Free environments. The population figures areUnder the legal category, the index significantly affected by two countries—China,assesses the laws and regulations that with a Not Free status, and India, with a Partlycould influence media content as well asthe extent to which the government uses Free status—that together account for over athese tools to restrict the media’s ability to third of the world’s nearly seven billion people.function. The percentage of those enjoying Free media in 2011 declined by a half point to the lowest levelThe political category encompasses a since 1996, when Freedom House beganvariety of issues, including editorial incorporating population data into the findingspressure by the government or other of the survey. Meanwhile, the share living inactors, censorship and self-censorship, the Partly Free countries jumped by threeability of reporters to cover the news, and percentage points, reflecting the move bythe extralegal intimidation of and violence populous states such as Egypt and Thailand intoagainst journalists. this category. After eight years of decline in the globalFinally, under the economic category, the average score, including particularly steep dropsindex examines issues such as the in 2007, 2008, and 2009 [see Graph 1], therestructure, transparency, and concentration was a slight improvement of 0.14 points forof media ownership; costs of production 2011. This break from the negative trend wasand distribution; and the impact of driven by a significant net improvement in theadvertising, subsidies, and bribery on Middle East and North Africa, coupled with acontent. more modest improvement in the Asia-Pacific region. The positive openings were nearlyRatings reflect not just governmentactions and policies, but the behavior of balanced by negative movements in the regionalthe press itself in testing boundaries, even averages for Central and Eastern Europe andin more restrictive environments, as well Eurasia, the Americas, and to a lesser extentas the impact of nonstate actors. Each sub-Saharan Africa. The regional average scorecountry receives a numerical rating from 0 for Western Europe remained largely(the most free) to 100 (the least free), unchanged. In terms of thematic categories, thewhich serves as the basis for a press- global average score improvement appears tofreedom status designation of Free, Partly stem from gains primarily in the legal category,Free, or Not Free. and secondarily in the economic category. The political category showed a global decline when compared with the previous year. 3
  5. 5. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 reporting by citizen journalists and foreign reporters moved that country to the brink of the 90–100 range. Regional Findings Americas: In the Americas, 15 countries (43 percent) were rated Free, 16 (46 percent) were rated Partly Free, and 4 (11 percent) were rated Not Free for 2011. In terms of the region’s population, 39 percent lived in Free countries and 44 could be found in Partly Free media environments, with the remaining 17 percent living in Not Free countries. These figures are significantly influenced by the open mediaGraph 1 environments of North America and much of the Caribbean, which tend to offset the less rosy There were a total of 10 status changes, picture in Central and South America. Infour negative and six positive, with most Hispanic America, meaning the Spanish- andrepresenting improvements from Not Free to Portuguese-speaking parts of the region, only 15Partly Free. In terms of significant numerical percent of the countries were rated Free, and justshifts of three or more points, the ratio was 1.5 percent of the population lived in Free mediaidentical to that for 2010, with declines (12 environments. There were two negative statuscountries) almost evenly balanced by gains (11 changes in the Americas, with Chile and Guyanacountries). moving from Free to Partly Free, as well as a significant numerical decline in Ecuador. TheWorst of the Worst regional average score worsened, with gains in the legal category, such as the passage ofThe world’s eight worst-rated countries, with freedom of information laws and thescores of between 90 and 100 points, are decriminalization of libel, overshadowed byBelarus, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, declines in the political and economicNorth Korea, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. In categories.these states, independent media are either Press freedom remained extremelynonexistent or barely able to operate, the press restricted in Cuba, which has one of the mostacts as a mouthpiece for the regime, citizens’ repressive media environments worldwide, andaccess to unbiased information is severely in Venezuela, where the Chávez governmentlimited, and dissent is crushed through continued its efforts to control the press. Inimprisonment, torture, and other forms of 2011, journalists in the country began to feel therepression. During 2011, significant improve- effects of a new law that extended existingments in Burma and Libya allowed them to controls on broadcast media to the internet.emerge from this cohort, reducing the number of After falling to Not Free status in 2010,states where free media remain overwhelmingly Mexico continued to suffer from high levels ofcircumscribed to its lowest point in the past five criminal violence in 2011, especially againstyears. However, conditions worsened in Iran, journalists and communicators who used socialwhich earned the dubious distinction of having media to bypass self-censorship in the traditionalthe most journalists behind bars in the world press. Eight media workers were killed in 2011,(42) as measured by the Committee to Protect and journalists reported receiving threats fromJournalists (CPJ). And in Uzbekistan, the drug cartels as well as the police and politicians.authorities shut down one of the country’s last Honduras also stayed in the Not Free categoryindependent newspapers. Meanwhile, the Syrian because of continued harassment andgovernment’s crackdown on independent intimidation of journalists. Although fewer 4
  6. 6. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012journalists were killed than in 2010, self- citizens about the candidates and their points ofcensorship and a lack of access to information view. In Correa’s high-profile libel case againstwere still problems. the newspaper El Universo, the Supreme Court Chile’s score worsened from 29 to 31, ruled quickly in favor of the president, butpushing it into the Partly Free category, due to reduced the fines against the paper to $40the obstacles faced by journalists covering million. Media outlets practiced self-censorshipprotests on education and environmental issues to avoid becoming the targets of similar cases.that took place throughout the year. Several Journalists and press freedom organizationsjournalists were harassed or detained in continued to face harassment and intimidation,connection with their reporting. Meanwhile, and an antimonopoly law threatened to furtherChile’s commercial press remained concentrated weaken media the hands of two media conglomerates that The United States remains one of thehave advertising interests and control stronger performers in the index, but it facesdistribution channels across the country. several challenges, including a threat to media diversity stemming from poor economic conditions for the news industry, and a lack of protection-of-sources legislation at the federal level. The overall score declined by one point due to detentions, rough police tactics, and other difficulties encountered by journalists while covering protests associated with the Occupy movement. On a positive note, in 2011 the federal judiciary showed signs of resisting government demands for reporters’ notes and the names of their sources in cases involving leaks of classified information. Asia-Pacific: The Asia-Pacific region as a whole exhibited a relatively high level of pressGraph 2 freedom in 2011, with 15 countries and territories (37.5 percent) rated Free, 13 (32.5 Guyana also declined to Partly Free, percent) rated Partly Free, and 12 (30 percent)falling from 30 to 33 points, because of the rated Not Free. Yet the regionwide figuresheightened political polarization of the media disguise considerable subregional diversity. Forand verbal intimidation of journalists by example, the Pacific Islands, Australasia, andmembers of the ruling party. There were several parts of East Asia have some of the best-rankedongoing libel cases, and a restrictive Broad- media environments in the world, whilecasting Act dramatically increased fines for conditions in South Asia, Southeast Asia, andbroadcasting without a license. The distribution other parts of East Asia are significantly worse.of licenses appeared to be politically motivated. The country breakdown also obscures the fact The region’s largest numerical downgrade that only 5 percent of the region’s populationtook place in Ecuador, which fell by six points had access to Free media, while 49 percent livedas President Rafael Correa persisted in his in Partly Free and 46 percent in Not Free mediaattacks on critical news outlets. The country’s environments. A modest improvement in thescore has dropped by 17 points since 2008, one average score for the Asia-Pacific region wasof the most dramatic declines in the world. A caused by positive change in both the legal andcontroversial law passed in 2011 bars the media political categories in 2011.from disseminating any promotion of Asia includes the world’s worst-ratedpresidential candidates, making it difficult for country, North Korea, as well as several otherthem to cover political campaigns and inform restrictive media environments, such as China, 5
  7. 7. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012Laos, and Vietnam. All of these feature On a positive note, the region’s second-extensive state and party control of the press. worst performer in 2010 experienced a In China, the world’s largest poor significant opening in 2011. The press freedomperformer, the authorities sharply curbed score for Burma improved from 94 to 85 pointscoverage of the popular uprisings in the Middle as the regime tentatively implemented politicalEast and North Africa, retained blocks on reforms. Positive developments included theforeign social media platforms like Twitter, and release of imprisoned bloggers, a softening oftightened controls on investigative reporting and official censorship, fewer reports of harassmententertainment programming in advance of a and attacks against journalists, and an increasesensitive leadership change scheduled for 2012. in the number of private media outlets, whichDetailed party directives—which can arrive led to somewhat more diversity of content anddaily at editors’ desks—also restricted coverage less self-censorship. In addition, a number ofrelated to public health, environmental exiled journalists were able to return to theaccidents, deaths in police custody, and foreign country.policy, among other issues. Dozens of writers The region featured two positive statusand activists with significant internet followings changes in 2011. Thailand, which in 2010 hadwere forcibly disappeared, abused in custody, been downgraded to Not Free, moved back intoand in some cases sentenced to long prison the Partly Free range due to a calmer politicalterms after anonymous messages that circulated situation that enabled expanded reporting ononline in February called for a Tunisian-style elections, greater space for dissent and coveragerevolution in China. Despite the robust of sensitive topics, and a significant decrease incensorship apparatus, Chinese journalists and violence against journalists. Following the endmillions of internet users continued to test the of a state of emergency in late 2010, journalistslimits of permissible expression by drawing were better able to cover the news across the country, though access to the restive southernattention to incipient scandals or launching provinces remained restricted. Despitecampaigns via domestic microblogging Thailand’s overall upgrade, the judicialplatforms. Most notably in 2011, journalists environment deteriorated toward the end ofdefied censorship orders pertaining to coverage 2011, with increasingly frequent and harshof a fatal high-speed train crash in July, while applications of the lèse-majesté law and theinternet users shared real-time updates of both creation of a new internet security agency thatthe incident and official attempts to cover up its can implement shutdowns more quickly andcause. with less oversight. The South Pacific island kingdom of Tonga was the only country to earn a status upgrade to Free, a result of the new government’s commitment to strengthening press freedoms and a general reduction in the harassment and intimidation of journalists. A number of significant numerical improvements were also seen in Asia during the year. Indonesia moved from 53 to 49 points as a result of reduced restrictions on the broadcasting authority and press council, less official censorship, and journalists’ greater ability to cover news events freely in most of the country. The Philippines continued to make gains— moving from 46 to 42 points after a major decline in 2009—due to a reduction in violenceGraph 3 against journalists, attempts by the government to address impunity, and expanded diversity of 6
  8. 8. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012media ownership. And in Nepal, the score increase in use of the internet, social media, andimproved from 59 to 55 points thanks in part to satellite television to disseminate and accessbetter access to information and a decline in news and information, especially during thecensorship. There were no journalists killed December parliamentary elections andduring the year, and fewer restrictions on the subsequent protests. However, new media usersproduction and distribution of news. have yet to achieve a real breakthrough in India suffered a two-point decline in 2011 reaching the general public in Russia, and facebecause of a worrying attempt to extend content an uphill battle against a range of political,controls over the internet and the murder of a economic, legal, and extralegal tools at thesenior newspaper editor in Mumbai, among disposal of the authorities.other problems. The score for Pakistan alsodeclined by two points, as threats against thepress from a variety of actors reachedunprecedented levels. CPJ now considersPakistan to be the deadliest country in the worldfor reporters. As a result of this danger, self-censorship has increased, particularly onsensitive topics like blasphemy laws and the roleand reach of the security forces.Central and Eastern Europe/Eurasia: In theCEE/Eurasia region, 7 countries (24 percent)remained classified as Free, 13 (45 percent)were rated Partly Free, and 9 (31 percent) wererated Not Free. However, a majority of thepeople in this region (56 percent) lived in NotFree media environments, while 29 percent lived Graph 4in Partly Free countries and only 15 percent hadaccess to Free media—the smallest share since Several countries in the region suffered2003. In 2011, the regional average score continued and significant declines. Hungary,underwent a significant decline, with negative whose score deteriorated sharply in 2010, wasmovement in all three thematic (legal, political, downgraded to Partly Free to reflect the ongoingand economic) categories. While the average for erosion of press freedom under Prime Ministerthe Eurasia subregion was almost completely Viktor Orbán. This was seen in thestatic, deterioration in the typically better- establishment of the National Agency for Dataperforming subregion of Central and Eastern Protection, which will restrict access toEurope was marked, driven by significantnumerical declines in Hungary and Macedonia information; evidence of a politically motivatedin particular. licensing procedure that resulted in a critical It is notable that three of the eight worst radio station losing its frequencies; increasedpress freedom abusers in the entire survey— reports of censorship and self-censorship,Belarus, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan—are especially at the public broadcasters; andfound in Eurasia. Other countries of special worsening economic conditions for independentconcern include Russia, Azerbaijan, and media entrepreneurship.Kazakhstan. The media environment in Russia Ukraine’s score fell from 56 to 59 points asis characterized by the use of a pliant judiciary a result of growing government control over theto prosecute independent journalists, impunity media. Many national media council membersfor the physical harassment and murder of are loyal to government official and mediajournalists, and continued state control or tycoon Valery Khoroshkovsky, and mediainfluence over almost all traditional media owners increasingly face political pressureoutlets. This was mitigated somewhat by an regarding content. In Macedonia, the score 7
  9. 9. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012moved from 48 to 54 points due to the declining note that many are not yet supported by newlegal environment, including politicized institutional, legal, and regulatory structures.decisions by regulatory bodies and the lengthy Vigilance will be required as these countriespretrial detention of a leading opposition- seek to consolidate their transitions and beginoriented media owner in a politically fraught tax adopting new laws and As part of that case, the country’s mostpopular television station and three affiliatednewspapers were forced out of business in 2011. The only significant numericalimprovement in the region occurred in PartlyFree Georgia, which moved from 55 to 52points. The change reflected the establishment ofa number of new publications, the issuing of abroadcast license to a media group that is criticalof the government, and the enforcement of newrequirements on transparency of ownership.More modest improvements were also noted inMontenegro, which decriminalized defamationand libel, and in Kosovo, which benefited froma continuing trend of fewer attacks on journalistsand greater ownership transparency.Middle East and North Africa: The MiddleEast and North Africa region continued to havethe world’s poorest ratings in 2011, with a singlecountry (5 percent) rated Free, 5 (26 percent)rated Partly Free, and 13 (69 percent) rated NotFree. Similarly, in terms of the breakdown bypopulation, only 2 percent of the region’s peoplelived in Free media environments, 27 percentlived in Partly Free countries, and the vastmajority, 71 percent, lived in countries or Graph 5territories designated as Not Free. Althoughtransnational satellite television and internet- Especially striking was Libya, which hadbased information platforms have had a positive long ranked as one of the world’s worst violatorsimpact, the media in much of the region of press freedom, but ended the year in theremained constrained by emergency rule, state Partly Free category after a numericalownership and editorial directives, harsh improvement from 94 to 60 points. The mediablasphemy legislation, and laws against insulting environment in Libya changed drastically inmonarchs and public figures. 2011 in all three thematic categories. The However, in 2011, thanks to extraordinary transitional constitutional charter drafted afteropenings in some formerly closed media the ouster of Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi guaranteedenvironments, the regional average score several fundamental human rights and offered aunderwent a dramatic improvement, particularly broad definition of freedom of expression,in the legal and political categories. There were though these provisions fell short ofthree positive status changes, as a series of international standards, and institutions touprisings that started in late 2010 overthrew implement them had yet to be established. Theentrenched leaders and either disrupted or Libyan media began to experiencedemolished their systems of media control. unprecedentedly free working conditions inWhile the gains are remarkable, it is important to practice. While censorship was not explicitly 8
  10. 10. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012banned, there were no longer laws against multiple reports of interference in broadcastlibeling officials in Libya, and journalists were media content by the military to report critically as al-Qadhafi’s rule Among other lingering problems, thebroke down. Five journalists were killed in Emergency Law was still in effect at year’s end,2011, mainly while covering the conflict and nearly 30 restrictive legal articles that allowbetween rebel and Qadhafi forces. Roughly 800 journalists to be prosecuted for their reportingnew media outlets had registered by the time the remain on the transitional government officially took Antigovernment protests in several othercontrol in October, creating a far more diverse countries led to increased restrictions on theand unfettered media environment than had ever press. The largest numerical decline globallyexisted under the old regime. occurred in Bahrain, which fell from 72 to 84 The score for Tunisia, where conditions in points as journalists faced defamation cases and2010 had also been highly repressive, rose from the government frequently invoked restrictive85 to 51 points after the overthrow of President press laws to deter media criticism. JournalistsZine el-Abidine Ben Ali, bringing Tunisia well and bloggers were also subjected to severeinto the Partly Free range. The draft constitution harassment, arrests, and torture as a result ofas well as a transitional press code provided their reporting on the ongoing demonstrations,major new protections for the media. Imprisoned and several fled into exile. Though thebloggers and freedom of expression activists government does not own newspapers, thewere released after Ben Ali fled into exile, and Ministry of Culture and Information maintainsjournalists now have the ability to work without control over private publications, imposing finesfear of detention or official censorship. Threats on those that carry information it findsand intimidation against media workers by objectionable.extremist Islamist groups were problems, but Syria also suffered a significant decline,they paled in comparison to the constraints of from 84 to 89 points, due to the increasedprevious years. Also during 2011, the number of attacks, intimidation, and detentions faced byindependent media outlets increased local and foreign journalists. The governmentsignificantly, and social media platforms added revoked the press passes of foreign reporters,further pluralism to the media landscape. and several media workers were arrested as a Egypt, which had been downgraded in result of a press law passed in August. The few2010 due to a crackdown surrounding the existing media outlets with a degree ofNovember parliamentary elections, also independence were forced to close, leaving onlyimproved to Partly Free after a popular protest those controlled by the government and rulingmovement forced the resignation of President party. Citizen journalists and activists worked toHosni Mubarak. However, the country’s score get information out of the country, but thechange, from 65 to 57 points, was less dramatic authorities made every effort to hunt them down.than in Libya or Tunisia, reflecting Egypt’s less These conditions, combined with mountingdismal starting point as well as the survival of state-led violence in many areas, made themany features of the old system. The political collection and dissemination of accurate newsupheaval led to a flourishing of new media nearly impossible in the country.outlets, a reduction in self-censorship, and someloosening of the centralized editorial control Sub-Saharan Africa: Out of a new total of 49over state media that had been in place during countries—with South Sudan assessedthe three decades of Mubarak’s rule. Journalists separately for the first time—5 countries (10and media outlets covered controversial stories percent) were rated Free, 23 (47 percent) wereand produced critical and investigative reports, rated Partly Free, and 21 (43 percent) remaineddespite intimidation by the transitional military Not Free in sub-Saharan Africa. In terms ofregime. Two journalists were killed in 2011, and population, 5 percent lived in Free mediathere were several reports of violence and environments, while a majority (54 percent)harassment as reporters attempted to cover the lived with Partly Free media and 41 percentuprising and its aftermath. There were also lived in Not Free environments. The regional 9
  11. 11. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012average score suffered a marginal decline, with who attempted to cover the protests, faced aimprovements in the legal and economic substantial increase in attacks and harassment,categories balanced by a deterioration in the which in turn led to a rise in self-censorship.political category. Press freedom conditions In Angola, which dropped from 64 to 67remained dire in Equatorial Guinea and Eritrea, points, the 32-year-old regime of President Josétwo of the world’s eight worst performers. Their Eduardo dos Santos stepped up its repression ofauthoritarian governments continued to use legal the press by imposing disproportionatepressure, imprisonment, and other forms of punishments in legal cases against journalists;harassment to suppress independent reporting. increasing its attacks and harassment of reporters, especially those covering anti- government demonstrations; and making it more difficult for foreign journalists to enter and work in the country. The highly repressive environment in Ethiopia worsened even further, from 78 to 81 points, with the government employing a 2009 antiterrorism law to silence nearly all dissenting voices. Many journalists have fled the country to avoid prosecution. Ethiopia is the only nation in sub-Saharan Africa with a nationwide internet-filtering system, and the apparatus appeared to grow more sophisticated in 2011. The passage of the Protection of Information Bill, which allows government officials and state agencies to withhold a wideGraph 6 range of information in the national interest or on national security grounds, in South Africa’s A number of key countries experienced lower house of parliament represented yetdecline and backsliding in 2011. Guinea, which another troubling development in a country thathad been upgraded to Partly Free in 2010 has been looked to for leadership on pressfollowing efforts by the transitional government freedom in open the legal and political environment for A few countries in the region registeredthe press, slipped backward to the Not Free improvements in 2011, in some cases buildingcategory, as the government of newly elected on gains from 2010. Zambia was upgraded topresident Alpha Condé failed to implement Partly Free due to reform of the public mediathose reforms. Moreover, the state regulatory initiated by the new government after thebody imposed a brief media blackout after a July September 2011 elections, which led to greaterattempt to assassinate Condé, and several media professionalism and independence, less self-workers were detained, suspended, and censorship, and a decrease in the overtly partisanthreatened by the government and security character of these outlets.forces during the year. The largest numerical improvement outside Uganda dropped from 54 to 57 points as a the Middle East and North Africa occurred inresult of biased election coverage by the state- Niger, which rose from 59 to 49 points. Newlycontrolled media prior to February balloting, as elected president Mahamadou Issoufou becamewell as physical attacks on journalists attempting the first African leader to sign the Tableto report on postelection protests. Malawi Mountain Declaration, which calls for the repealdeclined from 55 to 60 points due to alleged bias of criminal defamation and insult laws. Thein the issuing of broadcast licenses, and a ban legal environment also benefited from thepreventing media outlets from addressing key passage of an access to information law and thepolitical events such as July antigovernment prosecution of journalists under civil rather thandemonstrations. Reporters, particularly those criminal law for media offenses, including libel. 10
  12. 12. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012There were no reported cases of official the media from reporting both the targetedcensorship, extrajudicial harassment, or attacks information and the very existence of andirected against media workers during the year. injunction—by celebrities and wealthy Elsewhere in West Africa, the press individuals, as well as attacks on journalistsfreedom climate continued to improve in Sierra covering riots. In addition, the police andLeone under President Ernest Bai Koroma, with government used the 1984 Police and Criminalincreased space for opposition viewpoints and Evidence Act to force a number of mediacriticism of the government. Moreover, no cases organizations to hand over unedited footage ofof intimidation or harassment of journalists were rioting in London and Northern Ireland.reported in 2011. Togo made gains due to adecrease in restrictions on opening media outletsand a reduction in attacks on journalists, amongother changes. And Nigeria passed freedom ofinformation legislation after more than a decadeof advocacy by civil society groups and mediapractitioners. South Sudan, which became independentfrom Sudan on July 9, 2011, began with a ratingof Partly Free, as the ruling Sudan People’sLiberation Movement attempted to buildgovernment institutions that protect politicalrights and civil liberties. Press freedom isguaranteed in the new constitution, but lawsenforcing this principle have yet to be passed.There were reports of extralegal intimidationand attacks on journalists by security agents Graph 7during the year, resulting in self-censorship.Journalists were also caught up in an ongoing Italy remained a regional outlier with itsborder conflict with Sudan. Partly Free status, but registered a one-point gain in 2011 due to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s resignation in November, whichWestern Europe: Western Europe has significantly decreased media concentration inconsistently boasted the highest level of press the country. Berlusconi is a major private mediafreedom worldwide. In 2010, 23 countries (92 owner, and his political position had also givenpercent) were rated Free, and 2 (8 percent) were him control of the state media, includingrated Partly Free. In terms of population, 72 influence over the appointment of directors andpercent of the region’s residents enjoyed a Free key, while 28 percent lived in Partly Free In Turkey, which is also Partly Free, themedia environments. The regional average score score declined by one point as the governmentwas largely stable in 2011, with no major change continued to crack down on unfavorable pressnoted. Norway and Sweden joined Finland as coverage in 2011. Constitutional guarantees ofthe world’s top-performing countries, with freedom of the press and expression are onlyscores of 10. partially upheld in practice, undermined by The region’s largest numerical changes in restrictive provisions in the criminal code and2011 were declines in Iceland and the United Anti-Terrorism Act. Due to detentions stemmingKingdom. The score for Iceland, previously one from investigations into the alleged Ergenekonof the world’s top performers, moved from 12 to conspiracy to overthrow the government, as well14 points because of an increase in libel cases as a case involving suspected ties to an allegedand the passage of a controversial new law that Kurdish militant group, Turkey now has one ofcould restrain the media. The United the highest numbers of imprisoned journalists inKingdom’s score fell from 19 to 21 points due the the use of super injunctions—which prevent 11
  13. 13. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 AcknowledgementsKarin Deutsch Karlekar served as the project director of Freedom of the Press 2012. Overall guidancefor the project was provided by Arch Puddington, vice president for research, and Christopher Walker,vice president for strategy and analysis. Extensive research, editorial, analytical, and administrativeassistance was provided by Jennifer Dunham, Bret Nelson, and Valerie Popper, as well as by TylerRoylance, Nicholas Bowen, Holiday Dmitri Kumar, and Michael Larkin. We would also like to thank ourconsultant writers and advisers and other members of the survey team for their contributions.The extensive work undertaken to produce Freedom of the Press 2012 was made possible by leadershipcontributions from the Leon Levy Foundation, the Hurford Foundation, and the Jyllands-PostenFoundation. Additional generous support has been provided by the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation,Google, and Free Press Unlimited, as well as the F.M. Kirby Foundation, The Lynde and Harry BradleyFoundation, Lilly Endowment Inc., The Freedom Forum, and Walter Schloss. 12
  14. 14. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 GLOBAL PRESS FREEDOM RANKINGSRank 2012 Country Rating Status 1 Finland 10 Free Norway 10 Free Sweden 10 Free 4 Belgium 11 Free 5 Denmark 12 Free Luxembourg 12 Free Netherlands 12 Free Switzerland 12 Free 9 Andorra 13 Free 10 Iceland 14 Free Liechtenstein 14 Free 12 St. Lucia 15 Free 13 Ireland 16 Free Monaco 16 Free Palau 16 Free 16 Germany 17 Free Marshall Islands 17 Free New Zealand 17 Free Portugal 17 Free San Marino 17 Free St. Vincent and Grenadines 17 Free 22 Estonia 18 Free Jamaica 18 Free United States of America 18 Free 25 Barbados 19 Free Canada 19 Free Costa Rica 19 Free Czech Republic 19 Free 29 Bahamas 20 Free St. Kitts and Nevis 20 Free 31 Australia 21 Free Austria 21 Free Belize 21 Free Micronesia 21 Free Slovakia 21 Free United Kingdom 21 Free 13
  15. 15. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012Rank 2012 Country Rating Status 37 Cyprus 22 Free Japan 22 Free Malta 22 Free 40 Dominica 23 Free Lithuania 23 Free Suriname 23 Free 43 France 24 Free Grenada 24 Free Mali 24 Free Spain 24 Free 47 Poland 25 Free Slovenia 25 Free Taiwan 25 Free Trinidad and Tobago 25 Free 51 Tuvalu 26 Free Uruguay 26 Free Vanuatu 26 Free 54 Cape Verde 27 Free Kiribati 27 Free Latvia 27 Free Papua New Guinea 27 Free 58 Ghana 28 Free Nauru 28 Free Solomon Islands 28 Free 61 Mauritius 29 Free Samoa 29 Free São Tomé and Príncipe 29 Free Tonga 29 Free 65 Greece 30 Free Israel 30 Free 67 Chile 31 Partly Free 68 Namibia 32 Partly Free South Korea 32 Partly Free 70 Guyana 33 Partly Free Hong Kong 33 Partly Free Italy 33 Partly Free 73 Benin 34 Partly Free South Africa 34 Partly Free 75 East Timor 35 Partly Free 14
  16. 16. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012Rank 2012 Country Rating Status Montenegro 35 Partly Free Serbia 35 Partly Free 78 Bulgaria 36 Partly Free Hungary 36 Partly Free 80 India 37 Partly Free Mongolia 37 Partly Free 82 Antigua and Barbuda 38 Partly Free 83 Botswana 40 Partly Free Croatia 40 Partly Free El Salvador 40 Partly Free 86 Dominican Republic 41 Partly Free Romania 41 Partly Free 88 Burkina Faso 42 Partly Free Philippines 42 Partly Free 90 Mozambique 43 Partly Free 91 Brazil 44 Partly Free Peru 44 Partly Free 93 Panama 46 Partly Free 94 Bolivia 47 Partly Free 95 Bosnia and Herzegovina 48 Partly Free Comoros 48 Partly Free 97 Indonesia 49 Partly Free Kosovo 49 Partly Free Lesotho 49 Partly Free Nicaragua 49 Partly Free Niger 49 Partly Free Sierra Leone 49 Partly Free Tanzania 49 Partly Free 104 Argentina 50 Partly Free Haiti 50 Partly Free Nigeria 50 Partly Free 107 Albania 51 Partly Free Lebanon 51 Partly Free Maldives 51 Partly Free Tunisia 51 Partly Free 111 Bangladesh 52 Partly Free Georgia 52 Partly Free Kenya 52 Partly Free Mauritania 52 Partly Free 15
  17. 17. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012Rank 2012 Country Rating Status 115 Macedonia 54 Partly Free Moldova 54 Partly Free 117 Colombia 55 Partly Free Congo (Brazzaville) 55 Partly Free Nepal 55 Partly Free Senegal 55 Partly Free Turkey 55 Partly Free 122 Seychelles 56 Partly Free 123 Egypt 57 Partly Free Guinea-Bissau 57 Partly Free Kuwait 57 Partly Free Uganda 57 Partly Free 127 Bhutan 58 Partly Free Ecuador 58 Partly Free Fiji 58 Partly Free 130 South Sudan 59 Partly Free Ukraine 59 Partly Free 132 Guatemala 60 Partly Free Liberia 60 Partly Free Libya 60 Partly Free Malawi 60 Partly Free Paraguay 60 Partly Free Thailand 60 Partly Free Zambia 60 Partly Free 139 Algeria 62 Not Free Central African Republic 62 Not Free Guinea 62 Not Free Honduras 62 Not Free Mexico 62 Not Free 144 Cambodia 63 Not Free Jordan 63 Not Free Madagascar 63 Not Free Malaysia 63 Not Free Pakistan 63 Not Free 149 Armenia 65 Not Free 150 Angola 67 Not Free Qatar 67 Not Free Singapore 67 Not Free 153 Cameroon 68 Not Free 16
  18. 18. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012Rank 2012 Country Rating Status Morocco 68 Not Free 155 Iraq 69 Not Free Kyrgyzstan 69 Not Free Togo 69 Not Free 158 Côte d’Ivoire 70 Not Free Gabon 70 Not Free 160 Oman 71 Not Free 161 Burundi 72 Not Free Sri Lanka 72 Not Free United Arab Emirates 72 Not Free 164 Afghanistan 74 Not Free Djibouti 74 Not Free 166 Brunei 75 Not Free Chad 75 Not Free 168 Swaziland 76 Not Free Venezuela 76 Not Free 170 Sudan 78 Not Free 171 Tajikistan 79 Not Free 172 Azerbaijan 80 Not Free Russia 80 Not Free Zimbabwe 80 Not Free 175 Ethiopia 81 Not Free Kazakhstan 81 Not Free The Gambia 81 Not Free 178 Rwanda 82 Not Free 179 Congo (Kinshasa) 83 Not Free West Bank and Gaza Strip 83 Not Free Yemen 83 Not Free 182 Bahrain 84 Not Free Laos 84 Not Free Saudi Arabia 84 Not Free Somalia 84 Not Free Vietnam 84 Not Free 187 Burma 85 Not Free China 85 Not Free 189 Syria 89 Not Free 190 Cuba 91 Not Free Equatorial Guinea 91 Not Free 192 Iran 92 Not Free 17
  19. 19. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012Rank 2012 Country Rating Status 193 Belarus 93 Not Free 194 Eritrea 94 Not Free 195 Uzbekistan 95 Not Free 196 Turkmenistan 96 Not Free 197 North Korea 97 Not Free Status Number of Countries Percentage of Total Free 66 33.5 Partly Free 72 36.5 Not Free 59 30 TOTAL 197 100 18
  20. 20. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 ASIA-PACIFICRank 2012 Country Rating Status 1 Palau 16 Free 2 Marshall Islands 17 Free New Zealand 17 Free 4 Australia 21 Free Micronesia 21 Free 6 Japan 22 Free 7 Taiwan 25 Free 8 Tuvalu 26 Free Vanuatu 26 Free 10 Kiribati 27 Free Papua New Guinea 27 Free 12 Nauru 28 Free Solomon Islands 28 Free 14 Samoa 29 Free Tonga 29 Free 16 South Korea 32 Partly Free 17 Hong Kong 33 Partly Free 18 East Timor 35 Partly Free 19 India 37 Partly Free Mongolia 37 Partly Free 21 Philippines 42 Partly Free 22 Indonesia 49 Partly Free 23 Maldives 51 Partly Free 24 Bangladesh 52 Partly Free 25 Nepal 55 Partly Free 26 Bhutan 58 Partly Free Fiji 58 Partly Free 28 Thailand 60 Partly Free 29 Cambodia 63 Not Free Malaysia 63 Not Free Pakistan 63 Not Free 32 Singapore 67 Not Free 33 Sri Lanka 72 Not Free 34 Afghanistan 74 Not Free 35 Brunei 75 Not Free 36 Laos 84 Not Free 19
  21. 21. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012Rank 2012 Country Rating Status Vietnam 84 Not Free 38 Burma 85 Not Free China 85 Not Free 40 North Korea 97 Not Free Status Number of Countries Percentage of Total Free 15 37.5 Partly Free 13 32.5 Not Free 12 30 TOTAL 40 100 Subregion Comparison Asia-Pacific Region and Average Press Number of Countries Subregions Freedom Score Asia-Pacific 40 46.8 Asia Proper 26 57.7 Pacific Islands 14 26.4 20
  22. 22. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 AMERICASRank 2012 Country Rating Status 1 St. Lucia 15 Free 2 St. Vincent and Grenadines 17 Free 3 Jamaica 18 Free United States of America 18 Free 5 Barbados 19 Free Canada 19 Free Costa Rica 19 Free 8 Bahamas 20 Free St. Kitts and Nevis 20 Free 10 Belize 21 Free 11 Dominica 23 Free Suriname 23 Free 13 Grenada 24 Free 14 Trinidad and Tobago 25 Free 15 Uruguay 26 Free 16 Chile 31 Partly Free 17 Guyana 33 Partly Free 18 Antigua and Barbuda 38 Partly Free 19 El Salvador 40 Partly Free 20 Dominican Republic 41 Partly Free 21 Brazil 44 Partly Free Peru 44 Partly Free 23 Panama 46 Partly Free 24 Bolivia 47 Partly Free 25 Nicaragua 49 Partly Free 26 Argentina 50 Partly Free Haiti 50 Partly Free 28 Colombia 55 Partly Free 29 Ecuador 58 Partly Free 30 Guatemala 60 Partly Free Paraguay 60 Partly Free 32 Honduras 62 Not Free Mexico 62 Not Free 34 Venezuela 76 Not Free 35 Cuba 91 Not Free 21
  23. 23. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 Status Number of Countries Percentage of TotalFree 15 43Partly Free 16 46Not Free 4 11TOTAL 35 100 Subregion Comparison Americas Region and Average Press Number of Countries Subregions Freedom Score Americas 35 38.4 Hispanic 20 49.1 America Non-Hispanic 15 24.1 America 22
  24. 24. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE / EURASIARank 2012 Country Rating Status 1 Estonia 18 Free 2 Czech Republic 19 Free 3 Slovakia 21 Free 4 Lithuania 23 Free 5 Poland 25 Free Slovenia 25 Free 7 Latvia 27 Free 8 Montenegro 35 Partly Free Serbia 35 Partly Free 10 Bulgaria 36 Partly Free Hungary 36 Partly Free 12 Croatia 40 Partly Free 13 Romania 41 Partly Free 14 Bosnia and Herzegovina 48 Partly Free 15 Kosovo 49 Partly Free 16 Albania 51 Partly Free 17 Georgia 52 Partly Free 18 Macedonia 54 Partly Free Moldova 54 Partly Free 20 Ukraine 59 Partly Free 21 Armenia 65 Not Free 22 Kyrgyzstan 69 Not Free 23 Tajikistan 79 Not Free 24 Azerbaijan 80 Not Free Russia 80 Not Free 26 Kazakhstan 81 Not Free 27 Belarus 93 Not Free 28 Uzbekistan 95 Not Free 29 Turkmenistan 96 Not Free 23
  25. 25. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 Status Number of Countries Percentage of TotalFree 7 24Partly Free 13 45Not Free 9 31TOTAL 29 100 Subregion Comparison Central and Eastern Europe/Eurasia Region and Average Press Number of Countries Subregions Freedom Score CEE/Eurasia 29 51.2 Central and 17 34.3Eastern Europe Eurasia 12 75.3 24
  26. 26. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 SUB-SAHARAN AFRICARank 2012 Country Rating Status 1 Mali 24 Free 2 Cape Verde 27 Free 3 Ghana 28 Free 4 Mauritius 29 Free São Tomé and Príncipe 29 Free 6 Namibia 32 Partly Free 7 Benin 34 Partly Free South Africa 34 Partly Free 9 Botswana 40 Partly Free 10 Burkina Faso 42 Partly Free 11 Mozambique 43 Partly Free 12 Comoros 48 Partly Free 13 Lesotho 49 Partly Free Niger 49 Partly Free Sierra Leone 49 Partly Free Tanzania 49 Partly Free 17 Nigeria 50 Partly Free 18 Kenya 52 Partly Free Mauritania 52 Partly Free 20 Congo (Brazzaville) 55 Partly Free Senegal 55 Partly Free 22 Seychelles 56 Partly Free 23 Guinea-Bissau 57 Partly Free Uganda 57 Partly Free 25 South Sudan 59 Partly Free 26 Liberia 60 Partly Free Malawi 60 Partly Free Zambia 60 Partly Free 29 Central African Republic 62 Not Free Guinea 62 Not Free 31 Madagascar 63 Not Free 32 Angola 67 Not Free 33 Cameroon 68 Not Free 34 Togo 69 Not Free 35 Côte d’Ivoire 70 Not Free Gabon 70 Not Free 25
  27. 27. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012Rank 2012 Country Rating Status 37 Burundi 72 Not Free 38 Djibouti 74 Not Free 39 Chad 75 Not Free 40 Swaziland 76 Not Free 41 Sudan 78 Not Free 42 Zimbabwe 80 Not Free 43 Ethiopia 81 Not Free The Gambia 81 Not Free 45 Rwanda 82 Not Free 46 Congo (Kinshasa) 83 Not Free 47 Somalia 84 Not Free 48 Equatorial Guinea 91 Not Free 49 Eritrea 94 Not Free Status Number of Countries Percentage of Total Free 5 10 Partly Free 23 47 Not Free 21 43 TOTAL 49 100 26
  28. 28. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICARank 2012 Country Rating Status 1 Israel 30 Free 2 Lebanon 51 Partly Free Tunisia 51 Partly Free 4 Egypt 57 Partly Free Kuwait 57 Partly Free 6 Libya 60 Partly Free 7 Algeria 62 Not Free 8 Jordan 63 Not Free 9 Qatar 67 Not Free 10 Morocco 68 Not Free 11 Iraq 69 Not Free 12 Oman 71 Not Free 13 United Arab Emirates 72 Not Free 14 West Bank and Gaza Strip 83 Not Free Yemen 83 Not Free 16 Bahrain 84 Not Free Saudi Arabia 84 Not Free 18 Syria 89 Not Free 19 Iran 92 Not Free Status Number of Countries Percentage of Total Free 1 5 Partly Free 5 26 Not Free 13 69 TOTAL 19 100 27
  29. 29. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 WESTERN EUROPERank 2012 Country Rating Status 1 Finland 10 Free Norway 10 Free Sweden 10 Free 4 Belgium 11 Free 5 Denmark 12 Free Luxembourg 12 Free Netherlands 12 Free Switzerland 12 Free 9 Andorra 13 Free 10 Iceland 14 Free Liechtenstein 14 Free 12 Ireland 16 Free Monaco 16 Free 14 Germany 17 Free Portugal 17 Free San Marino 17 Free 17 Austria 21 Free United Kingdom 21 Free 19 Cyprus 22 Free Malta 22 Free 21 France 24 Free Spain 24 Free 23 Greece 30 Free 24 Italy 33 Partly Free 25 Turkey 55 Partly Free Status Number of Countries Percentage of Total Free 23 92 Partly Free 2 8 Not Free 0 0 TOTAL 25 100 28
  30. 30. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 Global Data Status Breakdown by Country Status Breakdown by Population Global Trends in Press FreedomYear Under Free Countries Partly Free Countries Not Free Countries Review Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage 2011 66 33.5 72 36.5 59 30 2001 75 40 50 27 61 33 1991 67 41 49 30 46 28 1981 36 23 34 22 86 55 29
  31. 31. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 Regional Data 30
  32. 32. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 31
  33. 33. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012World Population in 2011 According to Total Press Freedom Score Key to Press Freedom Scoring and Status Designation Total Score Country Status 0–30 Free 31–60 Partly Free 61–100 Not Free 32
  34. 34. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012Countries with a Net Annual Change of 3 or More Points 33
  35. 35. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 34
  36. 36. Freedom of the Press 2011–2012 Middle East and North Africa Nor thAtlantic O cean TUNISIA SYRIA LEBANON MOROCCO WEST BANK AND GAZA STRIP IRAQ IRAN ISRAEL JORDAN KUWAIT ALGERIA LIBYA BAHRAIN WESTERN EGYPT QATAR SAHARA(MOROCCO) U.A.E. SAUDI ARABIA OMAN YEMEN Indian O cean Net Change in Total Score, 2011-2012 3+ point improvement No change 3+ point decline 1­­­­­­ point improvement –2 1–2 point decline 35
  37. 37. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012 MethodologyThe 2012 index, which provides analytical reports and numerical ratings for 197 countries andterritories, continues a process conducted since 1980 by Freedom House. The findings are widelyused by governments, international organizations, academics, and the news media in manycountries. Countries are given a total score from 0 (best) to 100 (worst) on the basis of a set of 23methodology questions divided into three subcategories. Assigning numerical points allows forcomparative analysis among the countries surveyed and facilitates an examination of trends overtime. The degree to which each country permits the free flow of news and information determinesthe classification of its media as “Free,” “Partly Free,” or “Not Free.” Countries scoring 0 to 30are regarded as having “Free” media; 31 to 60, “Partly Free” media; and 61 to 100, “Not Free”media. The criteria for such judgments and the arithmetic scheme for displaying the judgmentsare described in the following section. The ratings and reports included in Freedom of the Press2012 cover events that took place between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2011.CriteriaThis study is based on universal criteria. The starting point is the smallest, most universal unit ofconcern: the individual. We recognize cultural differences, diverse national interests, and varyinglevels of economic development. Yet Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rightsstates: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers. The operative word for this index is “everyone.” All states, from the most democratic tothe most authoritarian, are committed to this doctrine through the UN system. To deny thatdoctrine is to deny the universality of information freedom—a basic human right. We recognizethat cultural distinctions or economic underdevelopment may limit the volume of news flowswithin a country, but these and other arguments are not acceptable explanations for outrightcentralized control of the content of news and information. Some poor countries allow for theexchange of diverse views, while some economically developed countries restrict contentdiversity. We seek to recognize press freedom wherever it exists, in poor and rich countries aswell as in countries of various ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.Research and Ratings Review ProcessThe findings are reached after a multilayered process of analysis and evaluation by a team ofregional experts and scholars. Although there is an element of subjectivity inherent in the indexfindings, the ratings process emphasizes intellectual rigor and balanced and unbiased judgments. The research and ratings process involved several dozen analysts—including members ofthe core research team headquartered in New York, along with outside consultants—whoprepared the draft ratings and country reports. Their conclusions are reached after gatheringinformation from professional contacts in a variety of countries, staff and consultant travel,international visitors, the findings of human rights and press freedom organizations, specialists ingeographic and geopolitical areas, the reports of governments and multilateral bodies, and avariety of domestic and international news media. We would particularly like to thank the other 36
  38. 38. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS 2012members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) network for providingdetailed and timely analyses of press freedom violations in a variety of countries worldwide onwhich we rely to make our judgments. The ratings were reviewed individually and on a comparative basis in a global meetinginvolving analysts and Freedom House staff. The ratings are compared with the previous year’sfindings, and any major proposed numerical shifts or category changes are subjected to moreintensive scrutiny. These reviews are followed by cross-regional assessments in which efforts aremade to ensure comparability and consistency in the findings.MethodologyThrough the years, we have refined and expanded our methodology. Recent changes are intendedto simplify the presentation of information without altering the comparability of data for a givencountry over the 32-year span or the comparative ratings of all countries over that period. Our examination of the level of press freedom in each country currently comprises 23methodology questions and 109 indicators divided into three broad categories: the legalenvironment, the political environment, and the economic environment. For each methodologyquestion, a lower number of points is allotted for a more free situation, while a higher number ofpoints is allotted for a less free environment. Each country is rated in these three categories, withthe higher numbers indicating less freedom. A country’s final score is based on the total of thethree categories: A score of 0 to 30 places the country in the Free press group; 31 to 60 in thePartly Free press group; and 61 to 100 in the Not Free press group. The diverse nature of the methodology questions seeks to encompass the varied ways inwhich pressure can be placed upon the flow of information and the ability of print, broadcast, andinternet-based media to operate freely and without fear of repercussions: In short, we seek toprovide a picture of the entire “enabling environment” in which the media in each countryoperate. We also seek to assess the degree of news and information diversity available to thepublic in any given country, from either local or transnational sources. The legal environment category encompasses an examination of both the laws andregulations that could influence media content and the government’s inclination to use these lawsand legal institutions to restrict the media’s ability to operate. We assess the positive impact oflegal and constitutional guarantees for freedom of expression; the potentially negative aspects ofsecurity legislation, the penal code, and other criminal statutes; penalties for libel and defamation;the existence of and ability to use freedom of information legislation; the independence of thejudiciary and of official media regulatory bodies; registration requirements for both media outletsand journalists; and the ability of journalists’ groups to operate freely. Under the political environment category, we evaluate the degree of political controlover the content of news media. Issues examined include the editorial independence of both state-owned and privately owned media; access to information and sources; official censorship andself-censorship; the vibrancy of the media and the diversity of news available within eachcountry; the ability of both foreign and local reporters to cover the news freely and withoutharassment; and the intimidation of journalists by the state or other actors, including arbitrarydetention and imprisonment, violent assaults, and other threats. Our third category examines the economic environment for the media. This includes thestructure of media ownership; transparency and concentration of ownership; the costs ofestablishing media as well as of production and distribution; the selective withholding ofadvertising or subsidies by the state or other actors; the impact of corruption and bribery oncontent; and the extent to which the economic situation in a country impacts the development andsustainability of the media. 37