Watchdog Keeps Georgia's Press Freedom Index Unchanged

Watchdog Keeps Georgia's Press Freedom Index Unchanged

Watchdog Keeps Georgia's Press Freedom Index Unchanged

In 2017, the country recorded another fall, moving from 116 to 122, which placed it conveniently on the red-zone for press freedom across the world.

At the other end of the spectrum, Turkmenistan came in at number 178 out of the 180 ranked countries, placing ahead of only Eritrea and North Korea.

Images of some of the world's "bad boy" leaders in terms of press freedom were paraded as examples not to follow, as the organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF) unveiled its latest World Press Freedom Index.

Despite the nation's Parliamentary history and cultural commitment to the freedom of speech, the United Kingdom has slipped further behind its neighbours who continue to populate the top spots, where Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands occupy the top five positions respectively.

Reporters Without Borders (RWB) released its annual 2017 World Press Freedom Index which revealed Taiwan as the top place among other Asian countries and ranks no. 45 among the world.

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In its accompanying press statements, RSF also said USA president Donald Trump was carrying out a witch hunt against journalists. The report also says that violence against journalists is less frequent, although threats are often reported. RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. In fact, "media freedom has never been so threatened" as overall levels constraints and violations worldwide have risen 14 per cent in a span of five years. "We have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda, and suppression of freedoms - especially in democracies", the report said.

The RSF is concerned about the "danger of a major deterioration" of press freedom, "particularly in important democratic countries". "Regardless of the law, the regime led with an iron fist by Gen. Al-Sisi tolerates no criticism, suppresses protests, shamelessly erodes media pluralism, attacks the journalists' union, and encourages self-censorship amongst reporters on a daily basis", RSF said. It cited Finland - ranked as the top nation for press freedom the past six years but third this year - for an incident last year in which Prime Minister Juha Sipila appeared to intervene with the country's public broadcaster to suppress a story unfavorable to him.

This year's finding highlight a "tipping point", in countries with "model democracies", where media freedoms were once protected, are now under erosion, the report says.

In the Western Hemisphere the worst abuser of press freedoms is Cuba, and Syria is now the deadliest country for journalists.

It was also not clear from the organization's description of its methodology whether it takes into consideration such factors as terrorism, which places an unusual burden on a government which must constantly weigh press freedom against vital security concerns.

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