I am number 47.
Or so Paris-based Reporters Without Borders says after condemning the US of A to a magnificent 23 place drop in their annual Press Freedom Index.
The police treatment of Wall Street occupiers across the nation heralded the not-so-shocking plummet which placed my land of press freedom at number 47 out of 179.
Personally, I won’t complain. I like Reporters Without Borders quite a bit, but I tend not to take these lists with 110 percent seriousness. Everything needs to be in perspective.
Ahead of us in the list are perennial torch bearers of press freedom, basically all of Scandinavia and somehow, the UK.
How in the world the United Kingdom managed to only fall two spots with the year its had is beyond me. We don’t really need to go into the tragic state of the UK press do we. Just a read over the libel laws are enough.
But hey, I’m not upset. I can deal with being 47th. It’s got a nice ring to it.
After all, the arrest of almost 30 journalists covering the protests, whether they were credentialed or not, is pretty shocking. And you know what, given our rich history of press freedom, I would say let’s drop us even lower.
Hell, we deserve the tag for the hypocrisy alone. At least the UK stays consistent with its hardly passable press laws.
Also ahead of us in the rankings is Hungary, who took a 17-spot hit to number 40 “after adopting a law giving the ruling party direct control over the media and amending its constitution in December.”
That’s pretty bad.
Not quite North Korea/Yemen/China bad, but pretty damn bad.
And while Andrew Rosenthal at the New York Times gives his ironic take on the list (which I partly agree with), I get where Reporters Without Borders is coming from.
The USA deserves its place on this list, if not lower, for the hypocrisy we showed by arresting journalists the Occupy Wall Street protests.
I do however have a problem with how it was all quantified – why not drop us further for failing to cover the initial protests, for chiding it at first, for our pathetic excuse for cable news and for the general business operation of most US news outlets in general.
How about slamming us for business practices in the field? Executive bonuses while journalists are being laid off?
What about the fact that despite dealing with netizens for the past who knows how many years, we’re still beating the same old dead horse about what a journalist really is and who exactly they are.
That’s still going on, let’s dock us a few points for that too.
I get that China and North Korea are holding up the bottom of the list, but who really expects any less? I expect more from any country that has ‘freedom of the press’ written into the constitution.
So with that sort of perspective, I say forty-seven isn’t low enough. How low can you go?
What do you think? Tweet us @wannabehacks
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After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look