South Africa slumps in the 2013 World Press Freedom Index.

The 2013 World Press Freedom Index came out recently, and sadly, South Africa has slid alarmingly since I last blogged about it in 2007, and even more so when compared with its peak rating in 2003. Note that a lower score is better.

Year Score Ranking
2013 24.56 (-12.56) 52 (-10)
2012 12 (0) 42 (-4)
2010 12 (-3.5) 38 (-5)
2009 8.5 (-0.5) 33 (+3)
2008 8 (+5) 36 (+7)
2007 13 (-1.75) 43 (+1)
2006 11.25 (-4.75) 44 (-13)
2005 6.5 (-1.5) 31 (-5)
2004 5 (-1.66) 26 (-5)
2003 3.33 21 (+5)

Although the country still has a robust and critical press, it’s mainly the threat of the “Protection of State Information Bill” that sees South Africa slump well away from “good” to deep into the “satisfactory” category.

Sadly, things are even worse for the other BRICS countries, with Brazil (108th, -9) falling after a number of journalists were killed, India (140th, -9) also seeing increasing violence against journalists and increasing censorship, China still oppressively imprisoning many journalists (173rd, +1) and Russia (148th, -6) down too after an increase in repression.

Finland remains top for the fourth consecutive year, with a number of other Nordic and European countries filling out the “good” category, along with New Zealand and Jamaica.

Among African countries, Namibia and Cape Verde top the charts and are rated “good”, with Ghana, Botswana, Niger, Burkina Faso and the Comoros all ahead of South Africa with satisfactory ratings.

A number of other African countries saw big gains, including Malawi up 71 and the Ivory Coast up 63. In the Western Hemisphere, the United States, recovering from its crackdown on the Occupy Movement, gained 15 positions up to 32nd in the world, while Canada lost ground after its obstruction of journalists during the “Maple Spring” student movement, and increasingly oppressive legislation, leaving Jamaica as the freest country in the hemisphere.

The gains are offset by a number of countries seeing worsening situations. Mali, after the coup and insurgency there, fell 74 positions, and Tanzania 36 positions after the murder of two journalists. The other big faller was Japan, down 31 positions after restricting all access to information about the Fukushima disaster.

Here’s hoping that, wherever you are in the world, 2013 will see you a little freer to have your say.

Read the full report on the Reporters Without Borders site.

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