The press in Jamaica are more free than the press in the United States of America. So says the organization Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders) in the release of its World Press Freedom Index 2008 report, compiled to represent press freedom between September 1, 2007 and September 1, 2008.
The report, released on October 22nd, gave Jamaica a ranking of #21. In comparison, the United States was ranked #36, tying the U.S. in rank with Bosnia, South Africa, Cape Verde, and Taiwan.
According to the RSF the report: “The Reporters Without Borders index measures the state of press freedom in the world. It reflects the degree of freedom that journalists and news organizations enjoy in each country, and the efforts made by the authorities to respect and ensure respect for this freedom.”
The report also calls out Jamaica for special praise, noting that in relation to Iceland, which was ranked #1; “Iceland’s per capita GDP is 10 times Jamaica’s. What they have in common is a parliamentary democratic system, and not being involved in any war.”
Many of Jamaica’s neighbors in the Caribbean also fared well in the Index, which the report notes by observing that “The other is the very respectable ranking achieved by certain Central American and Caribbean countries. Jamaica and Costa Rica are in 21st and 22nd positions, rubbing shoulders with Hungary (23rd). Just a few position below them are Surinam (26th) and Trinidad and Tobago (27th).” Cuba was ranked fourth from the bottom at #169.
Unfortunately, the report does not measure the propensity of the press in Jamaica to use its freedom for the advancement of the public interest.
This is the fourth in a series of international rankings or reports covered first (or only) in the Jamaican blogosphere in relation to the Jamaican press. Previously a report by the World Economic Forum was covered first by Kingston State of Mind. And reports by Transparency International, and the World Bank were covered here in My View of JamDown from Up So.
CORRECTION: A version of this article published yesterday mistakenly stated that the 2008 World Press Freedom Index was released on September 22nd, 2008. The report was in fact released yesterday, October 22nd, 2008.