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US Plunges To 46th In World Press Freedom Index 357

schwit1 writes "Reporters Without Borders puts out their Press Freedom Index every year, and the 2014 ranking came out today. It was not a good showing for the U.S. Specifically, the U.S. registered one of the steepest falls of all nations, down 13 slots to the #46 position, just above Haiti and just below Romania."
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US Plunges To 46th In World Press Freedom Index

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  • by Albert Schueller ( 143949 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @03:01PM (#46269227) Homepage

    It's too bad that the /. editor that posted this didn't dig into this shoddy piece of journalism before posting. You can read more about how arbitrary this "ranking" is at On The Media [] and then move along, there's nothing to see here.

  • by Yohahn ( 8680 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @03:04PM (#46269253)

    Think for yourself, but have a look here [].

    Their statistics suck, even if their principles are sound.

  • by Chan Jav ( 67520 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @03:21PM (#46269425)

    Think for yourself, but have a look here [].

    Their statistics suck, even if their principles are sound.

    Let us look at the last few years worth of rankings
    2002 17th
    2003 31st
    2004 22nd
    2005 44th
    2006 53rd
    2007 48th
    2008 36th
    2009 20th
    2010 20th
    2011-12 47th
    2013 32nd
    2014 46th

    Seems like a yo-yo, maybe this index is more about creating headlines than true measure. Please do reference the On The Media story linked above.

  • by hendrips ( 2722525 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @03:35PM (#46269565)

    According to this article [], there are plenty of reasons to doubt these rankings, even if press freedom in the U.S. is worrying. And ranking changes like these are not new. Here are the U.S.' rankings over the last 10 years (there's a typo in their own press release, the U.S. actually fell 14 slots):

    2004: 22
    2005: 44
    2006: 53
    2007: 48
    2008: 36
    2009: 20
    2010: 20
    2011: 47
    2012: 27
    2013: 32
    2014: 46

    That seems...a bit inconsistent. Again, that's not to say there isn't plenty to worry about in the U.S., but I'd still take these rankings with a grain of salt.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 17, 2014 @03:39PM (#46269623)

    No! US Press still free, comrades! As proof of this, I link to US Government-funded journalism!

    You do realize you linked to a story produced with funding from the US government, right? Of course they're going to say everything is fine. They're paid to.

  • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @04:20PM (#46269935)

    None of which will happen under the current government.

    How on earth can you KNOW that he would be unfairly treated? All they've done so far is to issue a warrant for his arrest and invalidated his passport, which is totally legal and within the bounds of the law.

    I hate to break this to you, but Snowden *would* be fairly tried if he turned himself in to the USA or if they had managed to arrest him. There is ZERO evidence otherwise. He's lucky that it's the USA that's after him, because other countries would have killed him a long time ago. (And don't fool yourself, if the USA wanted him dead sans a trial, he'd be room temperature.)

    So stop with this "He's being unfairly treated" nonsense. Nothing is further from the truth.

  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @04:29PM (#46270015)

    The headline should have been "US 'Plunges' to Where It Was Two Years Ago", since that's all that's happened here []. The author of that article even calls himself out for falling prey to the temptation of link-baiting, since he wrote about the loss of freedoms back in 2012 when the numbers were the exact same as they are now. This time around, he questioned how the numbers could be the same as two years ago, so he looked at where the numbers were coming from and poked all sorts of holes in them instead.

  • by BenJury ( 977929 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @05:09PM (#46270361)
    Wow, did you really just defend Gitmo? Because holding someone for 12 years without any sort of charge. Yeah, way to wave the 'freedom' flag.. []
  • by HairOfTheBambit ( 1281718 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @05:38PM (#46270609)
    Have you ever listened to On The Media? They spend half their time bemoaning the government, pointing out the dire actions of the government. This actual piece is an interview with the Washington Post's foreign affairs blogger. The blogger examines the actual numbers behind the headlines. Try listening to it and then make your own judgement, or review Max Fisher's original blog that the program was based on.
  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @05:42PM (#46270651)

    I'm not as convinced as many people are that the sky is falling, so I suspect the economy will eventually improve.

    The thing that all the knee jerk poster here seemed to miss is that this is the first year on a totally different survey methodology.

    Reporters Sans Borders (RSF) totally tossed out their prior methodology and went with a new questionnaire: []
    Since this isn't the only source of input, you have to read also their methodology []
    which includes things never before even considered. It turns out that most of the qualitative measurements are done by RSF people themselves, rather than from input from these people in the field.

    Quantitative questions about the number of violations of different kinds are
    handled by our staff. They include the number of journalists, media assistants and netizens who
    were jailed or killed in the connection with their activities,

    So "netizens" are who exactly?
    And why does that matter? Well, since they don't define it, we have to assume that anyone releasing information
    over the internet counts as a netizen. So one Bradley Manning (35 year sentence) can account for 90% of the "Violence against reporters/netizens) score.
    North Korea, not having any Netizens, presumably gets a perfect score in this regard. I suggest the whole thing is hopelessly biased.

    As with any newly invented scale, you have to give it a few years for the truth (and the bias) to come out.

  • by BenJury ( 977929 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @06:10PM (#46270905)

    Did you even click the link? []

    The Saudi national, who has been held for 11 years and is one of 164 inmates, has not been charged with any offence and has been cleared for release from the prison in Cuba.

    He was cleared for release in 2007, still hasn't happened. []

  • by schlachter ( 862210 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @06:24PM (#46271003)

    it's that "under god" part that got added to the pledge at some point which is hurting us...

  • by BenJury ( 977929 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @06:43PM (#46271141)

    You're really not reading the link are you?

    Look, GITMO is a *bad* situation with solutions that are only worse. Remember these guys are effectively POW's by international law, but it's not the Saudi's we are at war with so to where is he returned? If the Saudi's don't want him and the place he was picked up doesn't want him what do you do?

    To answer, lets read the article...

    He has permission to live in the UK indefinitely because his wife is a British national. They have four children and live in London.

    Mr Aamer's case was raised by Prime Minister David Cameron in talks with US President Barack Obama at the G8 summit in June. [2013]

    A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Mr Aamer's case remains a high priority for the UK government and we continue to make clear to the US that we want him released and returned to the UK as a matter of urgency."

    He said the case had been raised with both Mr Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden, adding: "We are confident the US government understands the seriousness of the UK's request for Mr Aamer's release.

  • by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @07:33PM (#46271525) Homepage Journal

    There's no need to suppress press. The US found that out long ago.

    You cannot hope
    to bribe or twist,
    thank God! the
    British journalist.

    But, seeing what
    the man will do
    unbribed, there's
    no occasion to.

  • by gd2shoe ( 747932 ) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @12:57AM (#46273501) Journal

    And what some fringe elements say at small meetings? How is that even relevant?!

    Because those relatively small gatherings are where all the media cameras and microphones are. The larger movement has not, and cannot be heard nationally.

    You have NOT heard the "Tea Party" movement, because you'd really have to go looking for it. You HAVE heard the constant barrage of media coverage on a particular corner of it, especially the Tea Party Express*, which is generally frowned upon by the other groups.

    *(I think I've got the right group here. No slander intended if I've got the wrong one. What is called "The Tea Party" is not... it's just one of many, many organizations nationally. It's not even a good representation of the other groups.)

    I am commenting on their actual representatives which are voting and passing laws not on the joe-shmoes voting them...

    Again, showing that you only think you know what's going on. There are no Tea Party candidates. There never were. There is no "Tea Party" organization. There is nobody declaring which candidates may, or may not self-describe themselves as Tea Party candidates. A bunch of Republicans decided that they could ride the momentum to out-maneuver the establishment. Some of them are quite crazy, and need to be mocked. They show up to one rally, somewhere on Tax Day, put on a pretty face, and call them selves a "Tea Party Candidate". That's the whole of it.

    I'll say it again. You're repeating lies. They're not your lies, so you need not feel any shame. The tea party movement started as a grass-roots movement, from the ground up. Ever since its inception, different political factions have been trying to define it or co-opt it from the outside, to some success. But at its core, there is no authoritative leader. Even "Tea Party Caucus" is a bit of a misnomer.

    So, what defines "the tea party movement"? Principally: being willing to say out loud that the government is wasting our money; that our current fiscal path is unsustainable; that we can, and ought to have a balanced budget; that we can do much more with less if we cut graft, waste, and well, stealing, theft, kickbacks, cronyism, foxes watching hen houses, and the systemic deficiencies encouraging them (sometimes obvious, sometimes not).

    In the words of John Green (to my nearest recollection) "If you think you might be a nerdfighter, you probably are." The same is doubly true of tea party advocates (or tea party anythings), especially as there aren't any de-facto Green brothers at the center of the nebulous thing. If there were congressmen being called the "Anonymous Caucus", you wouldn't blame Anonymous for everything they do, would you? That would be ludicrous. The tea party movement is even less organized than Anonymous. Consider that for a moment.

    So, when you refer to the evil-doers in congress, please stop calling them the tea party. At best, you could refer to them as the Tea Party Caucus. The aren't just a self selected group, but a self-proclaimed group. They have chosen to define themselves in terms of the movement (and most of them do so badly). It is disingenuous, and more than a little insulting to define the movement in terms of them. Voters elected them. There were no "Tea Party" primaries, or nominations, or official nods, or unofficial nods. There is no process of keeping bad candidates from claiming the designation. Individual groups may have rallied behind them, but that is meaningless for the movement as a whole. They are congressmen, self described as tea party candidates. Nothing more.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly