Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The photo at left is of "New York Times" photographer Barton Silverman being arrested in riots around the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Aug. 28, 1968.

We reprint the photo by Fred McDarrah in concert with Reporters Without Borders' release of their "Worldwide Press Freedom Index”, which ranks individual countries’ free press bonafides worldwide.

The United States of America under George w. Bush got a demotion in this year's edition.

Here’s an article from the “Washington Post” on that.

The worst countries are North Korea, Cuba, Burma, and China. No surprise there and shame on all of them. And especially shame on Fidel, giving communism a bad name until the very end.

The index tracks actions against news media through the end of September,” according to the article by Nora Boustany. “The group noted its concern over the declining rankings of some Western democracies as well as the persistence of other countries in imposing harsh punishments on media that criticize political leaders.”

The survey is not exclusive to government repression, but also gauges the threat to writers and artists through the public’s intimidation and violence. It noted Denmark’s monumental drop from top ranked in the world to 19; thanks to the threats made by Islamic fundamentalists following all that hullabaloo about the cartoon.

Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Indonesia and India all got spanked for the same reason; sectarian pressure against media. We mention them because that is what you do in these situations. You talk about it and try to embarrass these democratic backsliders into some kind of compliance with universally recognized standards of civic behavior.

The scribe addressed the phenomenon in a Washington Post “GlobalChat” thread.

The U.S. dropped nine places to 53. And that’s what we mean by embarrassing.

highwayscribery has addressed the difficult business of journalism in the United States with a piece on the administration’s threat to drag reporters before grand juries for leaking (ie; doing their job) stuff government wants kept secret.

Here’s a piece prompted by a press release from the American Society of Journalists and Authors (of which the scribe is a member) on funny stuff at Katrina trailer camps in Louisiana.

The Reporters Without Borders index said crappy press relations in the U.S. stem from the administration’s suspension of press niceties thanks to THE WAR ON TERROR, as well as the federal judiciary’s unwillingness to provide reporters with a shield from identifying their sources.

the highway scribe doesn’t mind losing a basketball world championship, but at this we should be number one.

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