It is World Press Freedom day, with Reporters Without Borders, (RSF), and the United Nations warning there is a world of difference between top of the list Finland, and 179 places further down, Eritrea.
The difference can be fatal. 90 journalists died in 2012 in their work to bring the truth to the public. Hundreds of others suffer persecution, discrimination, and imprisonment. Yet their role in furthering the causes of human rights and democratic accountability is priceless.
“What we see is that even countries that promote press freedom, when it concerns their allies, they do not criticise anything,” said RSF’s Christophe Deloire.
Reporters Without Borders’ website details the past year, reporting failures and successes, like the number of journalists killed, wounded or imprisoned while trying to do their jobs.
“In addition to those who pay the ultimate price, hundreds of journalists have been detained. Many languish for years in brutal conditions as a result of sham trials or trumped-up charges. I condemn all such attacks and repression,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Despite the Arab Spring, the Middle East remains the worst-ranked region, but there are some bright spots, like Myanmar, where the ending of dictatorship has seen the country rise 18 places up the rankings.