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Canada drops to 20th spot in world press freedom index

Canadian press freedom has fallen from 10th in the world to 20th, according to a new report from Reporters Without Borders. As a result, Jamaica now has the highest press freedom in the Americas.

According to the World Press Freedom Index 2013, Finland continues to enjoy the world's greatest media freedom for the third year in a row. Following it are the Netherlands and Norway. At the bottom of the index are Turkmenistan, North Korea, and Eritrea.

The report saw the US rise 15 places, to 32nd. "Its previous year's fall," the report said, "was due to the fact that the crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street movement did not spare reporters in the field.

"Canada, on the other hand, fell 10 positions to 20th, losing its status as the western hemisphere's leader to Jamaica (13th). This was due to obstruction of journalists during the so-called 'Maple Spring' movement and to continuing threats to the confidentiality of journalists' sources and internet users' personal data, in particular, from the C-30 bill on cyber-crime."

According to the Press Freedom Index on the RWB website, the top ten countries this year are Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Andorra, Denmark, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Iceland, and Sweden. Canada now ranks between Namibia and Belgium. Australia is in 26th place, the United Kingdom in 29th, and the US in 32nd. While the report praised Israeli media freedom, "the Israel military's targeting of journalists in the Palestinian Territory" pulled it to 112th place.

Japan's ranking fell sharply to 53rd, "affected by a lack of transparency and almost zero respect for access to information on subjects directly or indirectly related to Fukushima. This sharp fall should sound an alarm."

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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