World Press Freedom Index Plunges – USA Now Ranked #49 Globally

Tyler Durden's picture

The 2015 World Press Freedom Index highlights the worldwide deterioration in freedom of information in 2014. Beset by wars, the growing threat from non-state operatives, violence during demonstrations and the economic crisis, media freedom is in retreat on all five continents. There was a drastic decline in freedom of information in 2014. Two-thirds of the 180 countries surveyed for the 2015 World Press Freedom Index performed less well than in the previous year.



The annual global indicator, which measures the overall level of violations of freedom of information in 180 countries year by year, has risen to 3,719, an 8 percent increase over 2014 and almost 10 percent compared with 2013. The decline affected all continents.


But as Liberty Blitzkrieg's Mike Krieger notes, the bastion of press freedom in the land of the free, fell once again... to 49th!!

In the United States, 2014 was marked by judicial harassment of New York Times investigative reporter James Risen in connection with the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer charged under the Espionage Act with giving him classified information. US journalists are still not protected by a federal shield law that would guarantee their right not to name their sources or reveal other confidential information about their work. Meanwhile, at least 15 journalists were arbitrarily arrested during clashes between police and demonstrators protesting against black teenager Michael Brown’s fatal shooting by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.


– From Reporters Without Borders’ 2015 World Press Freedom Index

The greatest myth we Americans collectively like to tell to ourselves is that we live in the “land of the free.” We particularly pride ourselves on “freedom of the press” — enshrined in the U.S. Constitution — but how free is this press really?

According to the World Press Freedom Index, published each year by Reporters Without Borders, not that free at all. I highlighted last year’s plunge in the index in the post: U.S. Plunges to #46 in World Press Freedom Index, Below Romania and Just Above Haiti. Here’s an excerpt:

As you might expect, the economic decline of a nation into rule by a handful of corrupt oligarchs will have many other negative repercussions. One of these is a loss of civil rights and freedoms that many of us have taken for granted. Reporters Without Borders puts out their Press Freedom Index every year, and the 2014 ranking came out today. It was not a good showing for the USSA. Specifically, the U.S. registered one of the steepest falls of all nations, down 13 slots to the #46 position. As the screen shot shows, just above Haiti and just below Romania.

Well the decline continued in 2014. Dropping three spots, the U.S. now comes in just below Burkina Faso, Niger and Malta to #49. The AP notes that:

The U.S. fell three places to 49th amid a “war on information” by the Obama administration in some cases. Reporters also faced difficulty covering events like demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, where a black teenager was shot dead in August by a white police officer, Morillon said.

It’s not just the U.S. either. There is a global trend away from press freedom, which makes perfect sense given that world wealth is basically being consolidated by a handful of oligarchs who don’t want the rabble to have access to anything but their various forms of propaganda. For example:

War, the rise of non-state groups, crackdowns on demonstrations and economic crises provided a backdrop for a tough 2014. The Paris-based media watchdog said two-thirds of the 180 countries surveyed in its annual World Press Freedom index scored worse than a year earlier.


Western Europe, while top-ranked, lost the most ground as a region. Three Nordic countries headed the list, but there was slippage in Italy — where mafia and other threats weighed on journalists — and Iceland, where the relationship between the media and politicians soured, the group said.

Here’s the list of countries that ranked ahead of the U.S.

Rank Country          
1 Finland          
2 Norway          
3 Denmark          
4 Netherlands          
5 Sweden          
6 New Zealand          
7 Austria          
8 Canada          
9 Jamaica          
10 Estonia          
11 Ireland          
12 Germany          
13 Czech Republic          
14 Slovakia          
15 Belgium          
16 Costa Rica          
17 Namibia          
18 Poland          
19 Luxembourg          
20 Switzerland          
21 Iceland          
22 Ghana          
23 Uruguay          
24 Cyprus          
25 Australia          
26 Portugal          
27 Liechtenstein          
28 Latvia          
29 Suriname          
30 Belize          
31 Lithuania          
32 Andorra          
33 Spain          
34 United Kingdom          
35 Slovenia          
36 Cape Verde          
37 Eastern Caribbean          
38 France          
39 South Africa          
40 Samoa          
41 Trinidad and Tobago          
42 Botswana          
43 Chile          
44 Tonga          
45 El Salvador          
46 Burkina Faso          
47 Niger          
48 Malta          
49 United States

When it comes to these United States, it’s not just press freedom that has been plunging. Economic freedom has been also spiraling down the toilet bowl ever since the year 2000. Recall the post from last fall, New Report – The United States’ Sharp Drop in Economic Freedom Since 2000 Driven by “Decline in Rule of Law”. Here’s an excerpt:

Expanded use of regulation has also been an important contributing factor to the declining ratings of the United States. During the past decade, non-tariff trade barriers, restrictions on foreign investment, and business regulation have all grown extensively. The expanded use of regulation in the United States has resulted in sharp rating reductions for components such as independence of the judiciary, impartiality of the courts, and regulatory favoritism. To a large degree, the United States has experienced a significant move away from rule of law and toward a highly regulated, politicized, and heavily policed state.

Land of the free?

*  *  *

For related articles, see:

Oligarch Justice – Powerful Pedophiles Roam Free as Journalist Barrett Brown Returns to Jail

U.S. Plunges to #46 in World Press Freedom Index, Below Romania and Just Above Haiti

New Report – The United States’ Sharp Drop in Economic Freedom Since 2000 Driven by “Decline in Rule of Law”

The Obama Administration Plans to Embed “Government Researchers” to Monitor Media Organizations

American Upper Middle Class Share of Wealth is Worse than Every Country Besides Russia and Indonesia

 How Does America’s Middle Class Rank Globally? #27

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Bumbu Sauce's picture

Slavery is Freedom

MarketAnarchist's picture

Just wait until net neutrality kicks in.  Then we will drop to 100th place and have no way of finding that out!

pods's picture

Like they are going to tell you the truth in Amerika.

Did they poll Michael Hastings or Gary Webb??



TungstenBars's picture

Because we all know zionist countries = free

And countries that oppose = regimes with no fredom or press




They should change the description from press freedom to most unopposed  zionist controlled media

zaphod's picture

Canada is 40 slots higher than the US. That is a joke.

Canada does not have free speach. Just try to publish something about Islam that isn't even critical, just balanced, and you'll find yourself in jail. That is just one example, this ranking is a joke.

Don't get me wrong, the US is rapidly going down the tolitarian path, but we're following the rest of the world on that one, not leading.

Ruffmuff's picture

I agree. It pretty much sums up this report as bullshit

BurningFuld's picture

Well there is some good news up north. Harpo should be getting the boot this fall. People are fleeing his party like rats leaving a sinking ship. I'm sure the internal party polls are not looking good.

Fuck you Steve.

zeroderivatives's picture
zeroderivatives (not verified) BurningFuld Feb 14, 2015 12:53 PM

"Well there is some good news up north. Harpo should be getting the boot this fall."

What then? A jack booted socialist thug from the New Democratic Party or a carbon taxing socialist thug from the Green Party? Or maybe a French soicalist separatist thug from Bloc Québécois?

Canada = progressive socialist hell. 


August's picture

The Canadian press is completely free, as long as you have the right opinions.

The report is a joke.

garypaul's picture

Total bullshit zaphod. I live in Canada and I'm a lot more free than Americans. Yes there are reasonable limits on free speech, but American assholes are totally leading the path to fascism. Now go and incarcerate some folks for not filling out their insurance forms correctly.

BeerMe's picture

There are no "reasonable" limits on free speech.  You either have free speech or you don't.

GoinFawr's picture

...try telling that to a copyright lawyer.

Bokkenrijder's picture

Good to see that Russia and China, the two 'golden' posterchildren of ZeroHedge, are also scoring so high!

The only thing that the US needs to do is 'buy moar gold' and then they'll quickly be on par with the rest of the totalitarian-1984-world.

TungstenBars's picture

It's funny to see you fight for American freedumb.

numapepi's picture

If Obama gets his "net neutrality" you can kiss Zero Hedge goodbye.

Ignatius's picture

Some real irony here in this age of information.

NoDebt's picture

I hear Ghana is nice this time of year.

realmoney2015's picture

It’s amazing to see who is ahead of us in those rankings. Former soviet countries and former Nazi Germany?!?! What a difference a few decades make. There is hope for America, hopefully we won’t have to go through tyranny like those places did. We are getting closer and closer to that every day.  We all should continue to educate people, so when this system does collapse, we are ready to embrace freedom! Do not rely on the government when SHTF. Prepare now!

Buy guns, ammo, food, water, water filters, emergency supplies, lighters, batteries, flashlights, knives, candles, and silver. Knock out the last 2 at once with silver coins in candles:

Help prepare your loved ones for what is on the horizon!

ParkAveFlasher's picture

We got our ass kicked by countries that don't even write yet.

PartysOver's picture

LOL, now that is funny.  I don't care who ya are.

SoilMyselfRotten's picture

And by entities that don't even have a name, just an acronym.

Bangin7GramRocks's picture

Finland sure is greedy! They should be killing millions of tan and brown people to spread freedom to some motherfuckers, but they just live peacefully and keep that shit all to themselves. Bastards!

mototard's picture

We censored some folks....

Vinividivinci's picture

Freedom Index = The Fredom to get finger fucked by our dear leaders.

madcows's picture

i'm thinking new zealand is looking pretty good about right now.  i don't want to live in the land of tyrants anymore.

numapepi's picture

New Zealand is being flooded with progressives. Once the population is sufficiently progressive count on that nation becoming a tyranny too.

August's picture

One of the small saving graces of New Zealand is that they have already been through the phase of the top-down, state-run economy.  It didn't work out then, and is a recent enough memory that there is a degree of "immunization" against going that far again.  After all, a currency-trader and veteran of the NY Fed has been Prime Minister of NZ for the last seven years, and you can't get any more "free" than that.

popeye's picture

Yep, we pretty much had a command economy in the 70s/early 80s after the oil shock - subsidies, wage freeze, make-work schemes through state run corporations, pegged exchange rate, etc.

Then we threw all that out in the 80s and went cold turkey, with the promise the free market would do wonders. What it did was encourage manufacturing to go offshore, and key infrastructure was sold off.

We've spent big $$ buying back the rail system that was run intio the ground by an offshore corporation, and we struggle with getting energy companies to plan on a long enough horizon to ensure security of supply.

Rationalisation was needed, but some of us believe we moved a little too far for the good of the nation - change was driven by ideology rather than pragmatism/need/cost:benefit (so often the way). Still, its all market forces (and regulation) now.

As for our currency trader boss, he is rather blinkered by his background. A Friedmanite I would say, and rather simplistic in his understanding of economics. Embarrassingly obsequious towards bigger western nations (Obama, Cameron in particular). Most NZers pride ourselves on being independent and neutral (as the French discovered), but I fear our boss bends over too often and too easily.

Money Boo Boo's picture

git yourself a batch in Titirangi mate!!



popeye's picture

Prefer Tasman Bay myself. Great weather, warm sea, great beaches, water sports, hunting, tramping, mountain biking, fishing, WINE.

Whangaparoa looks nice, but I reckon its probably flooded with far too many JAFAs in the summer to be much fun.

SheepDog-One's picture

So? We got freedom of stawks to rise every day, what could be better than that?

giovanni_f's picture

Still 49. After Niger. Respect.

NoDebt's picture

If we want to have any shot at keeping this ponzi going another 5-10 years we better be DEEP RED real soon.

noben's picture
noben (not verified) Feb 13, 2015 11:03 AM

I note that correlation between the Top 8 and top scores in student competition (national rankings).

Imagine that... a medium-sized country (8-30 million), whose priority is the Centrist's path of Health, Education and War Avoidance CAN in fact do well and lead to decent quality of life all around. Imagine that!

The US needs to be broken into 6-8 regions to flourish again.
I'm partial to 8 regions, but would be happy with 6. Heck, I'd settle for 2: DC, NY and CA as one country...

Bumbu Sauce's picture

You libertarians won't rest until you remake America into a freedom-rich Somolian analogue.

Dr. Engali's picture

And you totalitarians statists won't rest until we are another version of North Korea.

GoinFawr's picture


you misspelled both 'fiscally responsible mixed economies' and 'Norway'

Oh right, i forget: in GaryAllenspeak "totalitarians (sic) statists" and "fiscally responsible mixed economies" are always one and the same,

regardless of reality.


Emergency Ward's picture

-- Boilerplate message out of the State Archives.  Always commendable to repeat that message.


Freedom = Somalia

"Watch out!  Here comes another Predator Drone!"

GoinFawr's picture

So a degree of distortion similar to 'Dr' Engali equating Norway with North Korea?

I'm not sure I agree, seeing as both Norway and North Korea actually exist to be so different

Emergency Ward's picture

When the masses get too uppity always tell them that freedom means chaos and warlords.