Press Freedom Declines Worldwide

New report sees losses in all regions for first time ever
By Jess Kilby,  Newser User
Posted May 2, 2009 6:55 AM CDT
A Chinese police officer questions a journalist about a handout from the Reporters Without Border depicting the Olympic rings made from handcuffs in Beijing, China, Monday, Aug 6, 2007.    (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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(Newser) – Press freedom declined worldwide last year for the seventh year in a row, and for the first time suffered losses in all regions, according to a new report by Freedom House. Slipping from “free” to “partially free” were Israel, Italy and Hong Kong, while Cambodia fell to “not free” status. Central and Eastern Europe saw the biggest overall drop in press freedom, reports AFP.

The report, funded by the US government and private groups, rated 195 countries and found 70 to be free—two less than the previous year. Sixty-one countries were partly free, and 64 were not free. The Middle East and North Africa continue to rank lowest, while gains were made in Bangladesh, the Maldives and Pakistan. Western Europe was found to have the highest levels of press freedom.