On October 20, 2009, Reporters Without Borders (RWB), a Paris-based international non-governmental journalism organization that advocates freedom of the press, published Press Freedom Index 2009, its eighth annual world press freedom catalogue. According to the report, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden are ranked in the top five, while Burma, Iran, Turkmenistan, North Korea, and Eritrea are the bottom five countries.

Even though the first thirteen places are held by European countries, the RWB is concerned about freedom of press in Europe because the scores of France (43rd), Slovakia (44th), and Italy (49th) went down eight, thirty seven, and five places, respectively, and journalists in Italy, Spain (44th), and Croatia (78th) are still physically threatened. Israel (93rd) is no longer the highest-ranking Middle Eastern country on the list: its rank sank 47 places due to its military offensive against the Gaza Strip. As a result of the election of President Barack Obama, the United States has gone up sixteen places in the ranking from 36th to 20th. Japan (16th) is the highest-ranking country in Asia for freedom of press. The scores of Taiwan (59th) and South Korea (69th) have seriously declined, dropping more than 20 ranks from 2008.

Press Freedom Index 2009

Reporters Without Borders