Free Press?

Reporters Without Borders (RSF – Reporters Sans Frontiers) has published its first worldwide “Press Freedom Index,” with some surprising results:

Israel was ranked #92, behind the Palestinian Authority (82) and Lebanon (56). It’s hard to believe that democratic Israel – with genuine parliament, legal due process, and check and balances — deserves a worse ranking than the PA thugocracy or Syrian-occupied Lebanon.

As an example of how disingenuous these ranking are, journalist Raghida Degham was recently prosecuted in a Lebanese military court merely for participating in a Washington, DC panel discussion at which an Israeli official was present. Yet Lebanon comes in at #56 on the RSF report, against Israel’s #92.

As for the Palestinian Authority, even the RSF report touches on its record of violent abuse — including murder, intimidation, and confiscation of equipment — of foreign and local journalists. RSF writes:

“The political weakening of the Palestinian Authority means it has made few assaults on press freedom. However, Islamic fundamentalist opposition media have been closed, several attempts made to intimidate and attack local and foreign journalists, and many subjects remain taboo. The aim is to convey a united image of the Palestinian people and to conceal aspects such a demonstrations of support for attacks on Israel.”

Further, the RSF report goes out of its way to single out Ariel Sharon as a press “predator,” worse than the likes of Iran’s Ali Khamenei, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Libya’s Gaddafi and more.

Read the report at:

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