Reporters Without Borders Releases 2014 World Press Freedom Index, And It’s Bleak For China

Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom 2014

Reporters Without Borders released its latest version of the World Press Freedom Index, and apparently China has cancer. It ranks sixth from the bottom, at 175, below Vietnam, Iran, Cuba, etc. To give you an understanding of how bad Reporters Sans Frontières believes the situation is:

At the other end of the index, the last three positions are again held by Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, three countries where freedom of information is non-existent.

China is three spots away — only separated by Somalia and the Syrian Arab Republic — from having “non-existent” “freedom of information.” Nonexistent.

Let’s point out, politely, that for as much as we all hate censorship, saying China has nonexistent freedom of information is a stretch. This is a country that actually allows foreign media, after all. To compare its press freedoms to, say, Yemen doesn’t do anyone justice, least of all the reporters on the ground here who deftly navigate the limits of what’s publishable on a daily basis.

“Chinese Big Brother is watching, and exporting its methods,” reads the subtitle under the Asia section of RSF’s report. Give it a read for a summary of all the reasons you hate government restrictions on press freedom. Then remember that sensationalism is really only useful for eye-catching heat maps.

Here’s another via Business Insider:

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6 Responses to “Reporters Without Borders Releases 2014 World Press Freedom Index, And It’s Bleak For China”

  1. Chingis

    Jonathan, possibly unbeknownst to you, not everyone who visits this site is American. Speaking for myself I often don’t give a flying fuuk what is going on in the States and don’t come here for irrelevant comparisons with countries I care little for.
    Chinese Wu Mao often take your approach when confronted with facts about their beloved Motherland they feel uncomfortable.
    Can’t you leave it with them, and say something relevant about the Chinese media since I understand this is where you claim to work?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Jonathan Alpart

      Good points, and thanks for being civil. My point was just that this is not news to anyone, China being nearly dead last. But yeah, what I said was largely irrelevant.

      Speaking from someone who works here in the media, I agree fully with Tao that saying China’s press freedom being “nonexistent” is a stretch to say the least. Obviously it is very, very bad, but here in my office it seems like it is getting more and more open every day. For example my own show is about underground rock music, and many of the bands don’t have great things to say about Chinese society in the interviews or in their song lyrics. I don’t think this could have existed even a few years ago. I’m just one person of many, foreign or Chinese, who are slowly making small moves to push out the boundaries. I’m curious how this org measures things.

      Of course, it is indeed all relative. It probably seems like it’s getting bette” to me only because it is so terrible to begin with.

      Reply

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