Report: Conflict harmful to freedom of the press

Feb. 12, 2014 at 4:57 PM
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PARIS, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Freedom of the press dwindles in countries hit by war and rebellion, Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday.

The organization, based in Paris, released its 2014 World Press Freedom Index. Finland tops the list for the fourth consecutive year, followed by the Netherlands and Norway. At the other end, the group described Eritrea, North Korea and Turkmenistan as "three countries where freedom of information is non-existent."

"Despite occasional turbulence in the past year, these countries continue to be news and information black holes and living hells for the journalists who inhabit them," the report said.

One country was added to the list this year, bringing the total to 180. Belize was in the 29th spot on the list as generally having a free press.

The civil war in Syria, 177th on the list, which began in 2011, has not only harmed press freedom there but in neighboring Lebanon and Jordan, the report said. Mali dropped 22 places to 122 and the Central African Republic 34 places to 109th, while the Democratic Republic of Congo remained low on the list at 151 with Somalia at 176 and Niger at 112.

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