Friday, October 28, 2005

Reporters sans frontieres has released its fourth annual worldwide press freedom index. Trinidad & Tobago is once again close to the top of the ranking (higher means freer), tying for 12th place this time with Hungary, New Zealand, & Sweden (last year T&T ranked 11th). By comparison, Germany ranks 18th, Canada 21st, the UK 24th, & the US 44th. Of other Caribbean nations, Jamaica comes 34th, the Dominican Republic 51st, Haiti 117th, & Cuba, near the bottom of the list, is 161st.

How did RSF decide T&T has such a free press?

Reporters Without Borders compiled a questionnaire with 50 criteria for assessing the state of press freedom in each country. It includes every kind of violation directly affecting journalists (such as murders, imprisonment, physical attacks and threats) and news media (censorship, confiscation of issues, searches and harassment).

It registers the degree of impunity enjoyed by those responsible for such violations. It also takes account of the legal situation affecting the news media (such as penalties for press offences, the existence of a state monopoly in certain areas and the existence of a regulatory body) and the behaviour of the authorities towards the state-owned news media and the foreign press. It also takes account of the main obstacles to the free flow of information on the Internet.

Three cheers for Trini boldfacedness & macociousness.

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