5 big losers in press freedom: Mali and ... Japan?

The annual World Press Freedom Index released today shows gains for Myanmar and others. Japan tumbled due to an informal ban placed on independent coverage of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. Here are five of the notable winners and losers on this year’s list.

#99: Mali

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    Malian soldiers heading to Gao arrive in the recently liberated town of Douentza January 30.
    Joe Penney/Reuters
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Last year was not kind to the Malian press corps. Early in the year, mutinying soldiers seized control of the capital, while in the country’s north, Tuareg separatists – and later, Islamist rebel groups – brought large swaths of territory under the rule of their own guns. Over the course of the year, news organizations in the north found themselves censored by rebel groups, several local and international journalists were assaulted in the capital, Bamako, and a large number of radio stations were forced off the air. Once “the continent’s star performer in democracy and press freedom,” according to RSF, Mali plummeted 74 places on the Press Freedom Index in 2012 – from 25th to 99th – the single largest decline of any country in the world. 

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