China ranks near the bottom in 2015 World Press Freedom Index

Not that it should surprise anyone, China, at #176 of 180, is among those nations ranking lowest in the 2015 World Press Freedom Index, released by Reporters Without Borders this week.

The organization cites continuing government pressure on journalists and authors, including trumped-up criminal charges and incarcerations, as reasons for China’s rank near the bottom with Vietnam, Syria, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea.

The Kong Kong SAR ranks in the middle at #70. The RSF cited self-censorhip by domestic and foreign media outlets in the wake of the long Occupy Central protests, as well as pressure from the Beijing government on the ostensibly autonomous region. The Macau SAR is not included on the list.

RSF ranked the USA at #49 in the “yellow zone,” saying this:

In the United States, 2014 was marked by judicial harassment of New York Times investigative reporter James Risen in connection with the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer charged under the Espionage Act with giving him classified information. US journalists are still not protected by a federal shield law that would guarantee their right not to name their sources or reveal other confidential information about their work. Meanwhile, at least 15 journalists were arbitrarily arrested during clashes between police and demonstrators protesting against black teenager Michael Brown’s fatal shooting by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

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