Iran lingers low on press freedom index


Iran ranks near the bottom of the Press Freedom Index for 2011-2012, which was released today by the press rights organization Reporters Without Borders.

“Crackdown was the word of the year in 2011. Never has freedom of information been so closely associated with democracy. Never have journalists, through their reporting, vexed the enemies of freedom so much. Never have acts of censorship and physical attacks on journalists seemed so numerous,” Reporters Without Borders writes. “The equation is simple: the absence or suppression of civil liberties leads necessarily to the suppression of media freedom. Dictatorships fear and ban information, especially when it may undermine them.”

This year Eritrea, Turkmenistan and North Korea are at the bottom of the 179-country list. They are followed by Syria at 176, Iran at 175 and China at 173, three countries that “seem to have lost contact with reality,” the press freedom group reports.

The report drew special attention to the plight of Iranian journalists, saying: “In Iran (175th), hounding and humiliating journalists has been part of officialdom’s political culture for years. The regime feeds on persecution of the media.”

On the other side of the spectrum, RWB reports that Cape Verde and Namibia are now among the top 20 countries on its list, indicating that no attempts to obstruct the media in these two African countries were reported in 2011.

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