We’re #49!

The organization Reporters Without Borders issues an annual ranking of nations on press freedoms and this year the US ranks 49th in the world out of 180. Five Scandinavian countries Finland, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, and Sweden take the top spots. El Salvador, the country once notorious for its death squads that abducted and murdered any critics, including journalists, of its dictatorship, now ranks above the US at #45.

This is the worst performance by the US since president Obama took office, which is no surprise given his administration’s appalling lack of transparency and persecution of whistleblowers and reporters, and its previous worst was #53 under George W. Bush, also no surprise.

But do not expect that this abysmal performance will cause any soul-searching about why the US ranks so low. After all, thanks to the Glorious War on Terror that we are now permanently engaged in, killing of civilians, the most brutal methods of torture, and indefinite detention of even innocent people without trial or access to family and lawyers, are all seen as just fine and dandy and not sufficient to shake the illusion of its citizens that they live in the most moral of all nations.

Given that level of insouciance, one would not expect the public to care the slightest about something as trivial as press freedoms, no?


  1. dogfightwithdogma says

    While 49th place among 180 nations is relatively high, it is nonetheless very troubling that we are not number one. We must as a nation make a much greater commitment to transparency if we are to honor and live up to the principle so clearly stated in our First Amendment to the Constitution. Our government, so it appears to me, is more committed to secrecy and punishing those who reveal these secrets than it is to promoting and defending a free press and the freedom of speech.

  2. khms says

    I notice Canada gives a statement on the general trend. While their score remained completely the same, that was enough for them to raise 10 ranks.

    We got a slightly worse score, but still managed to raise two ranks.

    In other words, the world is getting worse.

  3. mnb0 says

    To rub some more salt in the wound: I live in country nr. 29, which has a former military dictator and convicted drugs dealer as president.

  4. says

    The problem with the US is the American public swallows the propaganda willingly, still believing the US is “the most free country”. I’ve heard and read people criticizing Canada’s obscenity laws while at the same time turning a blind eye to US journalists (proper ones, not corporate media mouthpieces) be arrested orsilenced, at the same time that people were herded into “free speech zones” far away from the target of the protest and faced arrest for protesting where they actually needed and deserved to be heard.

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