Free Press

35 'Press Freedom Predators' Named and Shamed By Reporters Without Borders

Despots, terrorists, intelligence agencies, and drug cartels all get their ignominious recognition.

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Hunting the press freedom predators
Alexskopje/Dreamstime.com

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) commemmorated International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists yesterday by releasing a gallery of "press freedom predators" which they describe as various "presidents, politicians, religious leaders, militias and criminal organizations that censor, imprison, torture or murder journalists."

RSF issued 35 mock "hunting permits" to name and shame each of these predators, detailing their tactics, preferred victims, and their country's generally abysmmal ranking on the RSF's World Press Freedom Index. Though the imagery is a bit confused (if the idea is to hunt these predators, hunting permits should be issued for the hunters, not the hunted), RSF's gallery is a helpful reminder that in a great many places in the world, simply reporting facts or speaking truth to power involves taking life-threatening risks.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose government just arrested over a dozen journalists at one of the country's last remaining independent news outlets, makes his debut appearance on RSF's roll call of press freedom predators. Usual suspects such as North Korea's Kim Jong-Un (RSF lists his preferred attack technique as "paranoid totalitarianism") and Russia's Vladimir Putin (technique: "nationalist authoritarianism") get their due, but so do the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas (technique: "criminal barbarity") and the Islamic State a.k.a ISIS (technique: "barbaric acts in religion's name").

Check out the resumes of all 35 press freedom predators here, and if you're not yet sufficiently depressed, take a dive into the World Press Freedom Index here.

NEXT: Shrink the Supreme Court?

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  1. Is Obama still praising Erdogen?

  2. A ‘Usual Suspects’ theme would have been more apt.

  3. That list seems pretty racist.

  4. Um, Mugabe and Kabila should be called ‘Press Freedom Super Predators.’

    -Hillary Clinton

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  6. OT: this is the article, on an official US Gov web site, regarding third parties, that I had mentioned before:

    1. Key quote (emph mine):

      So-called “third party” candidates ? those not affiliated with either the Democratic or the Republican party ? could affect the outcome of the race by depriving the major candidates of votes, but, based on U.S. history, are unlikely to be elected themselves.

      1. It’s Qatar. The U.S. diplomats have gone local.

      2. Not giving is taking – how is that a shocking revelation of the political mindset?

        1. Just want to point out that since this is on an official USG web site, it is official USG policy.

    2. Just want to point out that since this is on an official USG web site, it is official USG policy.

  7. So where is the list of tame journalists who are politicians mouthpieces? Or would it be too long?

    1. All of them. Except Balko.

    2. It’s called staff list on nearly every mainstream publication. Why are you asking?

  8. Uh, did anyone read the map legend?
    I know the US isn’t the paragon of free speech it once was, but it’s rated lower than Germany where you can get tossed in the slammer for saying nice things about Hitler.

    1. Well, you can get tossed in the slammer here for saying mean things about Mohammed.

    2. It is sometimes more like shunning, as when someone says or reports anything with an incorrect overtone is called “disgusting” and hyperbolic keyboard warriors everywhere join in the verbal massacre.

  9. Does the article mention predators like CNN and the NYT that insist l’presse, c’est moi and dismiss everybody else as “not qualified to determine what is and what is not Important”? Because, you know, that seems like a pretty blatant attempt to stifle a free press when you’re actually declaring that you’re the one who gets to decide who is and who is not “the press”.

  10. Looks like another Scandinavian sweep; I’m sure freedom of the press is one of those things that gets factored into that enviable “quality of life” quotient we all supposed to clamor for and support any and all political agendas that claim to deliver on it.

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