Four MENA highlights you need to know from the latest press freedom report

Four MENA highlights you need to know from the latest press freedom report
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Published May 14th, 2015 - 21:31 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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The 2014 report by the Freedom House evaluates 199 countries and territories on their media freedom. The MENA region? Not so good. (AFP/File)
The 2014 report by the Freedom House evaluates 199 countries and territories on their media freedom. The MENA region? Not so good. (AFP/File)

The 2014 Freedom House report evaluated 199 countries and territories on media freedom, using a scale of one (most free) to 100 (least free). Turns out 2014 was one of the worst years for press, with censorship, death threats and propaganda affecting the work of journalists worldwide. Here’s the jist:

1. Libya was the worst, but the others aren’t so good either. 

Libya went down 11 points from last year as violence among rival factions rose. Egypt, Iraq and Turkey all saw significant losses as well. And these are just most significant declines — Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia aren't getting much worse because, well, they can't.

2. The Daesh (ISIS) influence on press freedom means some areas are inaccessible.

Daesh has made clear it targets journalists with the execution of Americans James Foley and Steven Sotloff and dozens of other uncounted Arab reporters in Syria. The same goes for Iraq, Libya and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. In turn, the vicious circle continues as conflicts are left untold.

3. The number of “free” MENA countries will depress you.

Only one country is listed under the "free" category: Israel. Kuwait, Lebanon and Tunisia are "partly free." The rest of the region is a sea of purple stamped "not free."

4. There is some good news for the MENA region.

First off, Tunisia improved by five points in 2014, maintaining "its reputation as the success story of the Arab Spring.” It’s also important to note it’s not just war-torn countries who saw declines: the US dropped a point due to its harassment and detainment of journalists covering Ferguson protests.

On a worldwide scale, things looked pretty grim last year. But a few examples have proved there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe countries like Syria have one too.

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