An Interactive Map of the World's 'Freedom Predators'

Here are the newest opponents of the free press
More

It's World Press Freedom Day, and the journalist-freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders marked the day by releasing a list of 39 "predators" of information freedom. These are "presidents, politicians, religious leaders, militias and criminal organizations that censor, imprison, kidnap, torture and kill journalists and other news providers."

The group added five new names this year and removed four entities in areas where the situation for reporters has improved.

The newest bad guys are plotted on this map. (Roll over the image to reveal the hotspots. Red dots indicate new predators; green dots are predators who have been removed this year.)

The full report on press-freedom-oppressors is here, but there are a few interesting trends from the recently added list. The newest predators seem to be concentrated in the Middle East and Asia, and some hail from nations whose human rights abuses we hear very little about (Maldives?). 

Several of the newest oppressors also appear to have arisen as a result of regime change and upheaval.

The Democracy ReportIn Syria, the government of President Bashar al-Assad, which is thought to be keeping several foreign journalists captive, is no longer the only force suppressing journalism in the embattled country. Jabhat Al-Nusra, an Islamist opposition group that gained strength in rebel-held areas throughout 2012, is accused of intimidating news providers while they are gathering information, threatening to kill both Syrian and foreign journalists, and kidnapping foreign journalists.

And Egypt's recently-elected President Mohamed Morsi and his ruling Muslim Brotherhood party made the list for hand-picking friendly editors for government media outlets, attacking journalists who covered clashes between the Brotherhood and opposition groups, and -- perhaps most famously -- for investigating Bassem Youssef, Egypt's "Jon Stewart."

"The television presenter Bassem Youssef is a thorn in [the Brotherhood's] side, and he is not the only one," Reporters Without Borders wrote.

In 2006, the United Nations adopted a resolution that would encourage member states to penalize entities that kidnap, threaten, or murder journalists, but the measure is rarely enforced in the countries that are home to most of these "predators."

"States often fail to do what they are supposed to do," the organization wrote, "either because they lack the political will to punish abuses of this kind, or because their judicial system is weak or non-existent, or because it is the authorities themselves who are responsible for the abuses."

Jump to comments
Presented by

Olga Khazan is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where she covers health.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Ghost Trains of America

Can a band of locomotive experts save vintage railcars from ruin?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Video

How Is Social Media Changing Journalism?

How new platforms are transforming radio, TV, print, and digital

Video

The Place Where Silent Movies Sing

How an antique, wind-powered pipe organ brings films to life

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Global

Just In