< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://bokertov.typepad.com/ btb/" >

Friday, April 30, 2004

New report: Freedom of the press declined in 2003

In the Middle East, only Israel has a FREE Press
NEW YORK, April 28, 2004 – Press freedom suffered a substantial worldwide decline in 2003, according to a major study released today by Freedom House.

Legal harassment, political pressure, and violence by state and non-state actors against journalists combined to worsen conditions in many countries, resulting in the second consecutive year of a global decline in freedom for news media.

The study, Freedom of the Press 2004: A Global Survey of Media Independence, revealed that some of the most serious setbacks took place in countries where democracy is backsliding, such as in Bolivia and Russia, and in older, established democracies, most notably Italy.

The report was released in advance of World Press Freedom Day, which takes place May 3.

Data from the report is available online at www.freedomhouse.org/research/pressurvey.htm

The survey assesses the degree of print, broadcast, and Internet freedom in every country in the world and assigns to each a category rating of Free, Partly Free, or Not Free. It analyzes events during the calendar year 2003.
Regional Trends / Middle East & North Africa:

Of the 19 Middle Eastern and North African countries, only one (5%), Israel, is rated Free. One country (5%), Kuwait is Partly Free, while 17 (90%) are Not Free. In 2003, Morocco slipped over the cusp to Not Free, primarily as a result of restrictive anti-terrorist legislation and a legal crackdown on critical media voices. The Middle East is the only region with an average rating of Not Free.