"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
"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had their press cards withdrawn or been deported.