Where Information Is Not Free: A Map

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Feb. 18 2014 12:33 PM

Where Is Information Still Not Free?

A ranking of 180 countries by their restrictions on the press and Web.

carte2014_en

Courtesy of Reporters Without Borders

Billions of people still live under regimes that severely restrict the press and the Web. That’s the lesson of a map recently released by a press freedom advocacy group, highlighting the worst countries in the world for information freedom.

The map, based on Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom rankings for 180 countries, shows home of the current Winter Olympics Russia in bright red, indicating a “difficult situation” for journalists and bloggers there. Russia, ranked 148th, shuts down seditious websites, bans so-called homosexual propaganda, prohibits religiously offensive expression, and heavily controls national TV stations, Russians’ main source of news.

The U.S. shows a “satisfactory situation,” but it has dropped 14 ranks since last year’s report and now sits at the 46th spot. This decline, according to the report, is due to the Obama administration’s hostility toward whistleblowers and leakers and the conviction of Chelsea Manning for releasing a trove of classified documents to WikiLeaks in 2010.

Advertisement

Most of Central and South America have “noticeable problems” or “difficult” situations. Those countries’ low rankings are in part due to the murders of journalists by powerful criminal organizations. In Mexico alone, 88 journalists were killed between 2000 and 2013. Some countries also suffer from a lack of editorial independence from the political system. In Brazil, for example, rich regional politicians own local newspapers, and the national media are in the hands of a small number of families.

The countries with the worst ranking include Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and China. In these countries, government authorities or militant groups intimidate, incarcerate, or even kill journalists, and access to the Web is carefully restricted.

Chris Kirk is Slate's interactives editor. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.