US press freedom improves; Israel, Iran worse-survey
The United States came in just behind Britain on the press freedom index of 175 countries, while China was at No. 168. Afghanistan No. 149 and Iraq at No. 145.
European countries hold the top 13 spots, led by Denmark, Finland, Ireland, (Up da Irish!) Norway and Sweden. France fell eight spots to No. 43, Slovakia dropped 37 places to No. 44 and Italy fell five spots to No. 49.
The group also drew attention to Israel, which fell 47 places to No. 93, losing its place as the top country for press freedom in the region and falling behind Kuwait at No. 60, Lebanon at No. 61 and the United Arab Emirates at No. 86
Israel has begun to use the same methods internally as it does outside its own territory," said Reporters Without Borders, adding that journalists had been arrested and imprisoned and that military censorship also posed a threat.
But as a result of actions during Israel's war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip in December and January, Reporters Without Borders ranked the country at No. 150 for its "extraterritorial actions."
"The toll of the war was very heavy. Around 20 journalists in the Gaza Strip were injured by the Israeli military forces and three were killed while covering the offensive," it said.
The ranking was compiled from hundreds of questionnaires completed by journalists and media experts around the world and reflecting press freedom violations that took place between Sept. 1, 2008 and Aug. 31, 2009. The exact number of questionnaires completed was not immediately available. source
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