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 U.S. Ranks 44th in Worldwide Press Freedom Index

Nation's openness sinking after Sept. 11

By Jesper Westi-Henriksen

10/31/05 "ohmynews.com" -- -- The annual worldwide press freedom index from Reporters Without Borders shows the United States, which is supposedly spreading freedom and liberty throughout the world, is in a fast decline regarding the freedom of its own press.

The report ranked the United States in 44th place, an atomic drop from a favorable position of 22nd held last year, and from a handsome 17th place in 2002.

The organization mentioned that several journalists were expelled from the country since the terrorist attacks of 2001.

South Korea, positioned at 34th place, is improving its image, partly because of open-source media OhmyNews. Any citizen in South Korea can be a reporter, thanks to its policy of posting submissions from people with all backgrounds.

OhmyNews was key in determining the outcome of the 2002 South Korean presidential election, as the nation's youth supported candidate Roh Moo Hyun. After being elected, Roh granted his first interview to OhmyNews.

Denmark also has an open-source news Web site, Flix.dk, but is regarded as years behind the South Korean site in terms of influence on public perceptions.

Open source journalism and Internet blogs are hooking more and more readers for every day. At the same time the mainstream media, or established media, has been on a steady decline by losing readership and subscriptions during the last years.

Repeated evidence of the media printing government propaganda and misleading information leading up to the U.S.-led Iraq invasion have surely made the decline of mainstream readers accelerate.

European nations Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland tied for first. North Korea was ranked last out of 167 countries surveyed.

A full list can be found at the RSF Web site.

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