6 May 2014
The comparatively tame “assault” upon the affairs of a journalist by the Minister of Justice is possibly as serious as limitations get, on the freedom of the New Zealand media. Ironically, however, the incident occurred while much of the World was celebrating World Press Freedom Day.
Since 1993 the UN General Assembly has encouraged recognition of 3 May as World Press Freedom Day, reminding people of the fundamental principles of press freedom and the challenges that journalists often face in reporting public affairs. Reporters without Borders also marks the date with the release of its annual World Press Freedom Index to heighten awareness of the dangers faced by journalists in many places, and commemorates those killed while seeking to practise their profession.
New Zealand – and Andorra – rank among Scandinavian countries in the top ten of the countries on the World Press Freedom Index. New Zealand slipped to 9th place in this year’s Index of 180 countries, from 8th in 2013.
Australia, UK and the US don’t rate as well. Samoa is among the countries that had the most substantial improvement in ranking this year, moving up 8 places to 40th on the World Press Freedom Index.
The White House Correspondents’ annual dinner also celebrates World Press Freedom Day – this year President Obama’s address has been a You Tube hit.
Reporters without Borders Press Freedom Index 2014