Canada #18 in RWB 2014 press freedom index: US plummets 13 places

rwb

Last year Finland scored the highest  in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

This year Canada’s ranking is marginally improved.

We’re now in in slot number 18, just in front of Poland and Slovakia.

Way to go …

The Middle East, Africa and Asiaa are among the worst abusers of press freedom.

There’s also been a big drop in press freedom in the US, the group says adding:

Countries that pride themselves on being democracies and respecting the rule of law have not set an example, far from it. Freedom of information is too often sacrificed to an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs, marking a disturbing retreat from democratic practices. Investigative journalism often suffers as a result.

This has been the case in the United States (46th), which fell 13 places, one of the most significant declines, amid increased efforts to track down whistleblowers and the sources of leaks.

The trial and conviction of Private Bradley Manning and the pursuit of NSA analyst Edward Snowden were warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that would clearly be in the public interest. (my emphasis.)

US journalists were stunned by the Department of Justice’s seizure of Associated Press phone records without warning in order to identify the source of a CIA leak. It served as a reminder of the urgent need for a “shield law” to protect the confidentiality of journalists’ sources at the federal level. The revival of the legislative process is little consolation for James Risen of The New York Times, who is subject to a court order to testify against a former CIA employee accused of leaking classified information

The United Kingdom (33rd, -3) distinguished itself in the war on terror by the disgraceful pressure it put on The Guardian newspaper and by its detention of David Miranda, journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner and assistant, for nine hours. Both the US and UK authorities seem obsessed with hunting down whistleblowers instead of adopting legislation to rein in abusive surveillance practices that negate privacy, a democratic value cherished in both countries.