Syria, Bahrain and Yemen fall backwards as uprisings fail to secure democracy
"Three Arab countries where popular risings have been quashed have achieved their worst-ever rankings in the annual press freedom index.
But the falls by Syria, Bahrain and Yemen are among many changes that reflect a year of unrest and protest.
The United States, for example, has dropped markedly due to the targeting of journalists covering the Occupy Wall Street movement.
It slipped 27 places, down to 47th place out of a total of 179 countries in the survey. Britain fell from 19th to 28th (though the reason for that remains unclear).
"Crackdown was the word of the year in 2011," said Reporters Without Borders (RWB), the international press freedom watchdog, when releasing its 10th annual index.
"Never has freedom of information been so closely associated with democracy. Never have journalists, through their reporting, vexed the enemies of freedom so much.
Never have acts of censorship and physical attacks on journalists seemed so numerous. The equation is simple: the absence or suppression of civil liberties leads necessarily to the suppression of media freedom.
Dictatorships fear and ban information, especially when it may undermine them."......"