Press freedom v. stubborn politicians

New Zealand still rates well comparatively in the latest Reporters Without Borders 2016 World Press Freedom Index, going up one place to fifth.

New Zealand summary:

Press freedom v. stubborn politicians

Media freedom thrives in New Zealand but is not entirely exempt from political pressure. The issue of whistleblowers and the confidentiality of journalists’ sources continues to be debated.

And the media continue to demand changes to the Official Information Act, which obstructs the work of journalists by allowing government agencies a long time to respond and even makes journalists pay several hundred dollars for the requested information.

There are ongoing issues with OIA delays which are unsatisfactory.

The rankings for the top 25 countries plus a few others of note:

  1. Finland 8.59
  2. Netherlands 8.76
  3. Norway 8.79
  4. Denmark 8.89
  5. New Zealand 10.01
  6. Costa Rica 11.10
  7. Switzerland 11.76
  8. Sweden 12.33
  9. Ireland 12.45
  10. Jamaica 12.45
  11. Austria 13.18
  12. Slovakia 13.26
  13. Belgium 14.18
  14. Estonia 14.31
  15. Luxembourg 14.43
  16. Germany 14.80
  17. Namibia 15.15
  18. Canada 15.26
  19. Iceland 15.30
  20. Uruguay 15.88
  21. Czech Republic 16.66
  22. Surinam 16.70
  23. Portugal 17.27
  24. Latvia 17.38
  25. Australia 17.84

The United Kingdom is ranked 38, United States is 41, Japan is 72, Italy 77, Fiji 80, Israel 101, Russia 148, Singapore 154, China 176, North Korea 179.

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1 Comment

  1. alloytoo

     /  22nd April 2016

    “The issue of whistleblowers and the confidentiality of journalists’ sources continues to be debated.”

    The issue of individual privacy vs the Journalist’s “Public Interest” assertion needs to be tested.

    We need some decent rules around public interest that include a time limit on the ‘defense’, and test to distinguish between what the public “would like to know” and what the public “should be” allowed to know”.

    As it stands, someone who has been charged with a crime has, with suppression laws, stronger rights to privacy than someone who is the victim of invasive theft, never charged with a crime, and whose private life is disclosed to the public by a “Journalist” who just happens to feel the “Public needs to know”, and who can profit from disseminating private information.

    We have strong regulation surrounding government snooping of this nature, but suddenly journalists are above the law?

    Reply

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