Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Japan falls in global press freedom ranking

An organization of international journalists that publishes an annual report on freedom of the press has downgraded Japan by 6 notches. The lower ranking follows new legislation on state secrets.

On Wednesday, the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders released its 2014 World Press Freedom Index covering 180 countries and territories. Japan's ranking fell from 53rd to 59th.

The report claims that freelance and foreign reporters have faced increased discrimination since the accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011. It says independent journalists have often been denied access to conferences held by the government and TEPCO and information on Japan's nuclear industry that is made available to mainstream media.
The organization says "their fight will get even more dangerous", citing the newly-enacted state secret protection law.

The organization downgraded the United States from 32nd place to 46th. The lower ranking comes after Edward Snowden, a former contractor of the US National Security Agency, leaked documents about the agency's data gathering programs.

The top 8 places in the index are all taken by European nations with Finland taking the lead.

Taiwan is ranked 50th and South Korea 57th. China is at 175th place and North Korea at 179th.