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Peace guarantees press freedom, not economic prosperity, says RSF in 2008 world press freedom index

(RSF/IFEX) - The following is an abridged version of a 22 October 2008 RSF special report:

World Press Freedom Index 2008
Only peace protects freedoms in post-9/11 world

Democracies embroiled in wars outside their own territory, such as the United States or Israel, fall further in the ranking every year while several emerging countries, especially in Africa and the Caribbean, give better and better guarantees for media freedom

It is not economic prosperity but peace that guarantees press freedom. That is the main lesson to be drawn from the world press freedom index that Reporters Without Borders compiles every year and from the 2008 edition, released today. Another conclusion from the index - in which the bottom three rungs are again occupied by the "infernal trio" of Turkmenistan (171st), North Korea (172nd) and Eritrea (173rd) - is that the international community's conduct towards authoritarian regimes such as Cuba (169th) and China (167th) is not effective enough to yield results.

"The post-9/11 world is now clearly drawn," Reporters Without Borders said. "Destabilised and on the defensive, the leading democracies are gradually eroding the space for freedoms. The economically most powerful dictatorships arrogantly proclaim their authoritarianism, exploiting the international community's divisions and the ravages of the wars carried out in the name of the fight against terrorism. Religious and political taboos are taking greater hold by the year in countries that used to be advancing down the road of freedom."

"The world's closed countries, governed by the worst press freedom predators, continue to muzzle their media at will, with complete impunity, while organisations such as the UN lose all authority over their members," Reporters Without Borders added. "In contrast with this generalised decline, there are economically weak countries that nonetheless guarantee their population the right to disagree with the government and to say so publicly."

To read the full report, see: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=29031

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