Freedom House: Bahrain is the Second Worst Arab Country for Press Freedom

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SHAFAQNA – For the third successive year, Bahrain maintained its global ranking in “Freedom House” annual report for press freedom. Bahrain ranked 188 worldwide. It was classified as “not free” in the press freedom index for 2014 and the second worst Arab country after Syria.

Each year at this time Freedom House issues a report on the state of global media freedom. However, in the report it issued on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, Norway and Sweden took the first places in press freedom, whereas North Korea, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were at the bottom of the list.

In its latest report, Freedom House said, “The media in Bahrain continued to suffer from self-censorship and persecution, and citizen journalists who dared to report on ongoing protests through social media increasingly faced government reprisals.”

Bahrain was listed as the worst Gulf country in the Freedom House index and the 18th on the Arab level preceding Syria that ranked the last Arab country. Bahrain maintained the points it had obtained last year; 87 out of 100. According to the press freedom index adopted by “Freedom House”, more points means less freedom.

Bahrain’s press freedom improved in 2002, where it obtained 68 points and its position remained roughly constant between 2003 and 2010. The points Bahrain obtained through that period ranged between 70 and 72.

However, after the eruption of 14 February 2011 uprising, the index severely declined and Bahrain got 84 points. Bahrain’s press freedom kept on deteriorating in 2012 declining 2 more points (86). Nonetheless, the year 2013 marked the severest declination where Bahrain obtained 87 points.

The report gives a score from (0-30) to the countries that enjoy press freedom and (31-60) to partly free ones and (61-100) to the not free countries.

The annual press freedom index of “Freedom House” measures the level of freedom enjoyed by the visual, printed and electronic media in each country worldwide. The index analyses the incidents and developments in the media in each country, depending on the legislating environment that can affect the media contents and the level the government uses these tool to restrict the media, besides the economic pressures that may affect it.

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