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West African countries lead continent on press freedom

Friday 8 February 2013

West African countries lead the continent in demonstrating respect for the media and access to information, according to the newly released 2013 World Press Freedom Index.

The report, published by Reporters Without Borders, scores 179 countries based on various criteria, including legal frameworks and incidence of violence against journalists. Among African countries, Cape Verde earned the highest ranking. Coming in at 25, it ranks just ahead of Australia.

Ghana is ranked 30, one spot behind the United Kingdom and ahead of both France and the United States. Niger and Burkina Faso are also among the top 50 countries in the world, ranked 43 and 46 respectively. The most improved West African country is Côte d’Ivoire. It climbed 63 places to 96 as the country began to recover from years of war and political turmoil. The index also noted improved conditions in Benin, Burkina Faso, Liberia and Senegal.

At the other end of the spectrum, Mali saw the largest decline in performance, dropping 74 places to 99. The report cites attacks on journalists and the military takeover of state media following the March 2012 coup d’état. Journalists in the rebel-held north have been subjected to censorship and violence. Guinea Bissau also slipped 17 places to 92 due to media censorship following the military coup in that country. Nigeria (115), Chad (121) and The Gambia (152) ranked lowest among West African countries.

Article in English: http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-ind...

Article in French: http://fr.rsf.org/press-freedom-ind...

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