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Let Press Freedom Ring

Louis Brandeis was right. Sunlight, he said, is the best disinfectant.

We compared the top and bottom countries on the press freedom index with their rankings on the corruption perceptions index.

The correlation isn't perfect. But it's generally true that governments that protect press freedom have less corruption, and governments that suppress the news have more corruption.

Reporters Without Borders publishes the press freedom index every year. It's based on survey responses, usually by local journalists, and reflects how much freedom they, the news media, and netizens enjoy. The survey asks about every kind of press-freedom violation -- murders, jail, beatings, and threats. For the news media it covers censorship, confiscation, searches, and harassment. And for the Internet it reflects violations of the free flow of information.

We've shown some of the top and bottom countries on the press freedom index, with their cpi rank in parentheses. Duplicated numbers indicate a tie.

China sits in the bottom group. We also included the other BRICs for comparison.

The United States isn't on the top or bottom, but we show it anyway. It fell 27 places on the press freedom index since 2010 because of arrests of journalists covering Occupy Wall Street protests. Last year the U.S. also dropped out of the top 20 on the cpi for the first time.

Strong laws against corruption are important. But looking at the numbers, we think a free press is a better weapon against graft, no matter how tough the laws might be.

Here are the scores:

1. Finland (2)

1. Norway (6)

3. Estonia (29)

3. Netherlands (7)

5. Austria (16)

6. Iceland (13)

6. Luxembourg (11)

8. Switzerland (8)

9. Cape Verde (41)

10. Canada (10)

10. Denmark (2)

12. Sweden (4)

13. New Zealand (1)

14. Czech Republic (57)

15. Ireland (19) . . . . .


47. United States of America (24)


99. Brazil (73)


131. India (95)


142. Russia (143) . . . .

164. Somalia (182)

165. Laos (154)

166. Egypt (112)

167. Cuba (61)

168. Belarus (143)

169. Burma (180)

170. Sudan (177)

171. Yemen (164)

172. Vietnam (112)

173. Bahrain (46)

174. China (75)

175. Iran (120)

176. Syria (129)

177. Turkmenistan (177)

178. North Korea (182)

179. Eritrea (134)

Reader Comments (1)

Might want to consider the extensive restrictions on what is permitted to write about in Europe...
April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

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