By Alejandro Martínez
Mexico and Cuba were the worst places for journalists in the Americas, tensions between the government and privately-owned media continued to escalate in Ecuador and Argentina, and Canada lost its position as press freedom leader in the continent, according to the 2013 edition of Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index, released on Wednesday.
RSF's annual report ranked media freedom in 179 countries. According to RSF, press freedom was healthier in the Americas than in other regions. On a scale from zero to 100 – where zero represents total respect for media freedom – the Americas received a score of 30.0 from the organization, only behind Europe’s score of 17.5. The worst region for media freedom was the Middle East and North Africa with a score of 48.5.
However, considering the setbacks to freedom of the press documented in the Americas last year, RSF's report said signs of progress in the continent were “deceptive.” Violence and political polarization are still important obstacles for journalism in the Americas.
Some of the highlights of the report regarding the Americas were:
Just like last year, the countries with the highest ranking in the index were the Nordic countries of Finland, Netherlands and Norway. Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea – the worst countries for freedom of the press in the world – have been at the bottom of RSF's index since 2005.
Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.