Jamaica’s press freedom ranking

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.”

Screenshot of World Press Freedom Index

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.

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8 thoughts on “Jamaica’s press freedom ranking

  1. news that’s not so bad it seems. I wish the press in Jamaica would use that freedom to do more investigative journalism and expose the heavy corruption in Jamaica. Hope they change those liable laws that some criminals hide behind.

    Personally when I watch the evening news or read the paper it is very thin and lack substance. I am seeing a few more deep reporting that I like.

  2. Duttyboy, you’re right. But then again, Jamaica would probably not rank so high in those ratings if the press would suddenly become more effective …

  3. “I wish the press in Jamaica would use that freedom to do more investigative journalism and expose the heavy corruption in Jamaica.”

    Depends on how long they want to live…

    I wonder what factors were considered for Jamaica to be ranked #21; sure hope the researchers saw the great investigative journalism in the Gleaner’s “Hottest Topics on the Thursday Cocktail Circuit.”

  4. Bwoy, mi nuh kno bout dem rankin!! Jamdown rank #21. Dem mussi let haf a dunza!! Some Joshie and Nannies.Dem rankin de caan rite star!!

  5. Pingback: Fair Comment
  6. Fair Comment, you are completely correct, press freedom in Jamaica is not properly utilized as an effective weapon against corruption.One of the main reason(s) is the constant invocation and utilization of the libel and slander laws to protect the accused or alleged corruptors vis-a-vis the Fourth Estate.

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