We're Number 24!


Happy World Press Freedom Day! To celebrate, take a gander at Freedom House's annual rankings [PDF] of press freedom around the globe. The U.S. has slipped a few notches down the chart to #24, tied with the recently totalitarian Latvia and Estonia, the liberty-lovin' Barbados, and some "countries" called Dominica and Canada. Explains the Freedom House press release:

While the United States remained one of the strongest performers in the survey, its numerical score declined due to a number of legal cases in which prosecutors sought to compel journalists to reveal sources or turn over notes or other material they had gathered in the course of investigations. Additionally, doubts concerning official influence over media content emerged with the disclosures that several political commentators received grants from federal agencies, and that the Bush administration had significantly increased the practice of distributing government-produced news segments.

"Even in established democracies, press freedom should not be taken for granted," said Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor. "It must be defended and nurtured."

Our friends in Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, clock in at a desultory 173rd, tied with our non-friends Iran (only 11 countries were judged worse). More on the survey here; link via the Inter Press Service.