Reporters Without Borders is publishing the first worldwide press freedom index
October 30, 2002

http://www.rsf.fr/article.php3?id_article=4116

"The first worldwide index of press freedom has some surprises for Western democracies. The United States ranks below Costa Rica and Italy scores lower than Benin. The five countries with least press freedom are North Korea, China, Burma, Turkmenistan and Bhutan."

"Reporters Without Borders is publishing for the first time a worldwide index of countries according to their respect for press freedom. It also shows that such freedom is under threat everywhere, with the 20 bottom-ranked countries drawn from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. The situation in especially bad in Asia, which contains the four worst offenders - North Korea, China, Burma, Turkmenistan and Bhutan. The top end of the list shows that rich countries have no monopoly of press freedom. Costa and Benin are examples of how growth of a free press does not just depend on a country's material prosperity."
 

"The attitude of Israel (92nd) towards press freedom is ambivalent. Despite strong pressure on state-owned TV and radio, the government respects the local media's freedom of expression.

However, in the West Bank and Gaza, Reporters Without Borders has recorded a large number of violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees press freedom and which Israel has signed. Since the start of the Israeli army's incursions into Palestinian towns and cities in March 2002, very many journalists have been roughed up, threatened, arrested, banned from moving around, targeted by gunfire, wounded or injured, had their press cards withdrawn or been deported.