12th February, 2015
Nigeria has moved up four points in its ranking in the global press freedom index and is now ranked 112th.
According to the 2014 World Press Freedom Index, the insignificant improvement in the country’s ranking was the result of the activities of the insurgency ravaging the North Eastern part of the couintry.
The index highlights the negative impact of conflicts on freedom of information and its protagonists.
The index listed Syria (177th) as one of the worst countries in the world for journalists to operate. The report revealed that since March 2011, Syria has become an extreme example where freedom of information and its actors are most in danger.
Other countries where the media have become strategic goal and targets for groups or individuals whose attempts to control news and information violate international law, particularly Article 19 of the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights, the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Protocols Additional 1 and 2 to the Geneva Conventions, are Lebanon (106th), Jordan and Iraq (153rd).
The report identified Finland as the freest country in the world for journalists to operate, followed by Netherlands and Norway.
The bottom three countries where the freedom of information is non existent areTurkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea. These countries continue to be the news and information black holes and living hells for journalists working there.
The report also indicted strong democracies like the United States and Britain for not serving as good examples in respecting the rule of law.
Instances of the United States’ government crackdown on Wikileaks and efforts to track down whistleblowers and sources of leaks were cited as measures preventing free flow of information.
Both the United States and UK authorities seem obssesed with hunting down whistleblowers instead of adopting legislation to rein in abusive surveilance practices that negate privacy, a democratic value cherished in both countries, the report stated.