Sunday, July 24, 2011

Reporters Without Borders Says 2010 Japan Has More Freedom of the Press Than the USA!

After three articles arguing that Japan is a much freer nation than today's USA and getting many positive and negative reactions from readers such as this comment:

Actually, when you stop and think about it, it is a pretty damning statement when a guy can argue that Japan is freer than the USA. Japan? A nation that was extremely poor just 60 years ago and couldn't feed her people - as well as being completely destroyed by WWII - is a freer country than America today? AND THIS GUY CAN ACTUALLY WIN THAT ARGUMENT?... That's speaks volumes about the sad state of the USA today. The other thing that speaks volumes is how many American ex-pats seem to agree with him.

Sad days for the US.

Today, I plan on continuing with flogging a dead horse. Last night I got another article sent to me from my friend Ken Nishikawa that verifies what I have been saying all along; when it comes to personal freedoms, Japan blows away today's USA.

Ken sends an survey from an organization called "Reporters Without Borders" who, in the 2010 survey rate Japan much higher than the USA is press freedoms (dare I say, "Freedom of speech"?) Ken writes:

It's actually called "press-freedom index." Japan is #11 whilst US is #20... And Eritrea has less press-freedom than North Korea. 

From Reporters Without Borders:

“Our latest world press freedom index contains welcome surprises, highlights sombre realities and confirms certain trends,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said as his organisation issued its ninth annual index today. “More than ever before, we see that economic development, institutional reform and respect for fundamental rights do not necessarily go hand in hand. The defence of media freedom continues to be a battle, a battle of vigilance in the democracies of old Europe and a battle against oppression and injustice in the totalitarian regimes still scattered across the globe.

Reporters Without Borders Lists Japan at #11 for press freedom and the USA languishes at #20. For shame to the so-called beacon of democracy!
“We must salute the engines of press freedom, with Finland, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland at their head. We must also pay homage to the human rights activists, journalists and bloggers throughout the world who bravely defend the right to speak out. Their fate is our constant concern. We reiterate our call for the release of Liu Xiaobo, the symbol of the pressure for free speech building up in China, which censorship for the time being is still managing to contain. And we warn the Chinese authorities against taking a road from which there is no way out.
“It is disturbing to see several European Union member countries continuing to fall in the index. If it does not pull itself together, the European Union risks losing its position as world leader in respect for human rights. And if that were to happen, how could it be convincing when it asked authoritarian regimes to make improvements? There is an urgent need for the European countries to recover their exemplary status.
“We are also worried by the harsher line being taken by governments at the other end of the index. Rwanda, Yemen and Syria have joined Burma and North Korea in the group of the world’s most repressive countries towards journalists. This does not bode well for 2011. Unfortunately, the trend in the most authoritarian countries is not one of improvement.”
Funny, but, if you go to the article in question and check, you'll see that the United States has gone from #17 to #20 since 2002, when the survey of reporters began. Talk about a trend from an authoritarian country that is not one of improvement.
That the self-appointed defender of freedom and the country that is supposedly bringing democracy to the world is listed at a lowly #20 is a damned disgrace and embarrassment... After World War II, the USA taught freedom of thought, speech, and press to the Japanese. Now, in 2010, it seems the student has much to teach the teacher.


Mr. Blather said...

Quite frankly, it's hard to take seriously a list that gives a black mark to the USA because Mumia Abu-Jamal is still in jail. Apparently, before he was given a death sentence for killing a cop, he was a journalist of sorts. This, therefore, counts as persecuting a reporter.

Since there are two negative stories about Mumia's treatment on the home page (at this time anyway) and there's an on-going petition to free Mumia linked on the site, there's clearly a built in bias against the USA (Mumia being such a cause celebre to the left that "Free Mumia" signs appeared during early Iraq war protests--back when the left still protested against wars that is).

Add in the fact that the survey was given not only to journalists but also to "researchers, jurists and human rights activists" then the surprise is not that the USA came in at 20; it's that the USA reached the top 20 at all.

The US main-stream media has a lot of problems, but so does this survey.

Anonymous said...

I strongly disagree with Mr. Blether. Of course Mumia Abu-Jamal is given much presence on this site. It is a site that speaks about protections of rights of reporters and journalists.

What do you expect them to write about? I doesn't point to any anti-USA bais at all... Your search is too short and you look for something to support your bias... Let's not forget the torture treatment that another whistle blower in the USA is getting at this same time too: Bradley Manning... Name another western nation off the top of your head that has high profile cases like this (gag orders, imprisonment, etc.) going on today? Can't? Didn't think so. There's also Sibel Edmonds, Julian Assange on and on:

Anonymous said...

Here is a direct link: USA tries to gag the world.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Here's one: In Japan I can't recall hearing anything about peaceful demonstrators getting arrested demonstrating against Iraq, or Nuke power:

Anonymous said...

everything's been screwed up here in the states since 9/11. no wonder japan is safer and freer.

al qaeda: 1
usa: 0

Anonymous said...

erm...i think the japanese press is "more free" because they gag themselves (just like corporate US press) regarding all kinds of issues in which the government or large connected corporations have an interest: like nuclear power, the construction industry, amakudari, etc etc. yeah, japanese pressers can get very rowdy with reporters shouting and berating company executives, but that doesn't translate to freedom when the writer goes home and writes an article that "reports on the presser", but not the issues or the subtext or anything else.

i know youve been on the japan is freer than the US for a couple posts and i love japan and i lived there for a few years and i'm a fluent speaker, but there are very clear examples about how messed up the japanese prison system is or how weak their press is. and it's a misogynist, xenophobic society. its schoolchildren are treated sadistically and they act likewise to their peers.

yeah, the US has a crappy drug war that does nothing and we lock up every other black guy just to feed our private prison system. our corporations buy our judges and our elections and our media scaremongers about china and jihadists etc etc.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Thanks Anonymous.
Excellent points well taken!

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