Press Freedom Index: The top 10 worst countries

Syria, Rwanda, and Yemen have fallen to the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index, the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders said today. The three countries join other single-party dominated governments at the bottom of the annual index, while six democratic Northern European nations tied this year as the best places for media freedom.

6. Syria

According to Reporters Without Borders, "Press freedom is fast shrinking away" in Syria, where "arbitrary detentions are still routine, as is the use of torture." The state dropped eight places from last year.

The New York Times, in the September article "Web Tastes Freedom Inside Syria, and It's Bitter," detailed how reporters are still prevented from criticizing the president and security services or from reporting on issues like Syria’s Kurdish minority or the Alawites.

Even minimal press freedom in Syria, according to the Times, "is threatened by an ever present fog of fear and intimidation, and some journalists fear that it could soon be snuffed out. A draft law regulating online media would clamp down on Syrian bloggers and other journalists, forcing them to register as syndicate members and submit their writing for review. Other Arab countries regularly jail journalists who express dissident views, but Syria may be the most restrictive of all."

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