On Tuesday the European Court of Human Rights gave an important decision safeguarding the rights of journalists when investigating and reporting on the conduct of allegedly corrupt politicians and public officials. Somewhat strikingly, the case arose from bribery allegations made by and not about a pharmaceutical company.
Entries in Press Freedom (10)
Today is Press Freedom Day, when the world celebrates the virtues of a free press and remembers that in so many countries, press freedom is just a dream.
After a six-hour trial Monday in Ho Chi Minh City, three bloggers who wrote about corruption in the government were sentenced to long prison terms for 'spreading propaganda against the state.'
Three bloggers who reported about alleged corruption in Vietnam are on trial for spreading propaganda against the state.
We can't let Sunshine Week pass without a plug for more openness of a particular kind. We're talking about FCPA declinations.
Two newspaper journalists in Oman were sentenced Thursday to five months in prison for reporting alleged government corruption.
In its landmark 2002 study, The right to tell: The role of mass media in economic development (here), the World Bank said a free press contributes to cleaner governments -- and to better education, improved public health, lower infant mortality rates, and higher incomes. "Secrecy is the bedrock of persistent corruption," it said, "which undermines confidence in democratic governments in so much of the world. As the expression goes, sunshine is the strongest antiseptic."
The correlation between press freedom and corruption is not perfect but apparent. Here, for example, are the best-ranked countries on Freedom House's 2008 Freedom of the Press World Ranking. In parentheses are the countries' rankings on the 2008 Corruption Perception Index:
Finland (6)Here are the countries that are worst-ranked for press freedom and their CPI rankings:
Andorra (no CPI rank)
New Zealand (1)
Iran (144)Of the 195 countries and territories in Freedom House's latest press-freedom survey, 72 were rated as free, 59 as partly free, and 64 as not free. In terms of population, the survey found that only 18 percent of the world’s people live in countries that enjoy a free press, while 40 percent have a partly free press and 42 percent have a not-free press.
Equatorial Guinea (171)
North Korea (no CPI rank)