29th place for British press freedom

Reporters Without Borders has just published its World Press Freedom Index for 2013. Apologies for being so parochial, but what immediately strikes me about this document is that it shows the United Kingdom in 29th place out of the 179 states listed.

There are no obviously dodgy states above the UK in the latest press freedom rankings, but it doesn’t look good to see the Mother of Democracy and its wayward offspring the United States (#32) placed so far down the list. Especially when the top 10 includes Denmark, with a press regulator arguably more statist than that proposed by Hacked Off Leveson.

If anyone can enlighten me as to what is going on here, I would very much like to know.

There is one particularly amusing sub-heading in the document, albeit grimly so…

“outside the european union, freedom of information is in a state of collapse”

Quick, someone tell Mr Farage!

The press freedom index is by definition a general overview of the current state of play as regards journalistic freedom around the world. One thing that would interest me is a global comparative study of science and technology reporting and investigative journalism. That could be revealing, given the way in which even the most politically open industrialised states guard sensitive technical information, and the use of libel threats by technology-based commercial enterprises and academic researchers intent on protecting their reputations in the face of critical journalistic inquiry.