Tuesday, May 08, 2018

U.S. Falls To 45th On List Of Countries With A Free Press

Reporters Without Borders has released its 2018 World Press Freedom Index. That index ranks each country on how free the press is in that country.

They judge each country's press on seven areas. Those areas are:

1 / Pluralism 
Measures the degree to which opinions are represented in the media.

2/ Media independence 
Measures the degree to which the media are able to function independently of sources of political, governmental, business and religious power and influence.

3/ Environment and self-censorship 
Analyses the environment in which news and information providers operate.

4/ Legislative framework 
Measures the impact of the legislative framework governing news and information activities.

5/ Transparency 
Measures the transparency of the institutions and procedures that affect the production of news and information.

6/  Infrastructure 
Measures the quality of the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information.

A seventh indicator based on data gathered about abuses and acts of violence against journalists and media during the period evaluated is also factored into the calculation.

7/ Abuses 
Measures the level of abuses and violence.

The lower a country's score is, the freer the press in that country is. Here's what the numbers mean:

0 - 15 = Good
15.01 - 25 = Fairly Good
25.01 - 35 = Problematic
35.01 - 55 = Bad
55.01 - 100 = Very Bad

Only 17 countries scored in the good range.

The United States has always prided itself on having a free press, and I think most Americans would assume the United States is one of those 17 countries rated as "good". It is not! The United States has slipped all the way down to 45th place, with a rating of 23.73. That puts it in the "fairly good" category -- and in danger of slipping into the "problematic" category.

This should bother all Americans. A democracy must have a vibrant free press to exist. If the press is not free, then a democracy will slip into a tyrannical form of government.

Why is the United States rated so low? That should be obvious. A big reason is the constant attacks on the press by Donald Trump and too many of his Republican cohorts in Congress. They are waging war on our press in an attempt to cover up the incompetence and possible criminality of Trump. They label the press as lying and printing "fake news", and too many Americans accept those accusations as fact. It is doing serious damage to freedom of the press in this country.

This must stop. When government attacks the press, they attack our democracy.

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