SLOVAKIA dropped to 44th place in the 2009 Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, an international NGO. Last year Slovakia stood in 7th place.
According to the NGO, one of the main reasons why Slovakia ranked 44th, a place shared with Spain and Cape Verde, was the Press Code adopted by Slovakia earlier in 2009. Reporters Without Borders said the change in the law “has introduced the dangerous concept of an automatic right of response and has given the culture minister considerable influence over publications”.
The fact that Europe has historically been a bastion of press freedom remains visible from the ranking, as the top 13 places are still occupied by European countries, with the Nordic countries and Ireland sharing the top rankings.
But the NGO said that several other European nations, in addition to Slovakia, have fallen significantly in the 2009 ranking, with France falling to 43rd and Italy dropping to 49th.
In contrast, the United States climbed 20 places in just one year and ranked 20th in 2009.
“Barack Obama’s election as president and the fact that he has a less hawkish approach than his predecessor has had a lot to do with this,” the report reads. But Reporters Without Borders also said that this high ranking only concerns the state of press freedom within the country, adding that the attitude of the US towards the media in Iraq and Afghanistan is worrisome.
26. Oct 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff