REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS Should Wake Up or Break Up

Thursday, May 07 2009 @ 08:55 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

Reporters without Boarders (or Reporters sans Frontieres) was founded in 1985 in Montpellier, France. Ever since the self-proclaimed press freedom watchdog, now based in Paris, has kept a watchful eye on the mainstream and web-based media worldwide.

In the past RSF earned a good reputation for its relatively unbiased way of providing comparative data about how far reporters of each country were allowed to exercise press freedom. But in recent years RSF has been increasingly discrediting itself.

Let's take a look at the press freedom ranking RSF publishes every year. The following list shows how G-8 countries and China fared in comparison with other countries in 2004 and 2008:

Country Ranking
2004
Ranking
2008
No. of Countries/Regions on the List 167 173
Canada 18 13
China 162 167
France 19 35
Germany 11 20
Italy 39 44
Japan 42 29
Russia 140 141
United Kingdom 30 23
United States (American Territory) 22 36
United States (Extra-territorial, incl. Iraq) 108 119


Anyone in his right mind will have difficulty understanding how RSF came up with its "Press Freedom Indices" when press freedom is something that you can't readily quantify - unless you are prejudiced against some regimes and in favor of some others.

In fact the press freedom watchdog relies primarily on the statistical figures available to it, such as:how many journalists and bloggers were killed, arrested, physically assaulted, threatened and how many media outlets and websites were censored, blocked, shut down and suspended. That means that RSF has to use arbitrary criteria when it comes to nations where such an overt suppression of free press is not commonplace.

Looking at the apparently politicized ranking, you certainly feel like recollecting what happened in these nine countries between 2004 and 2008.

France sank to No. 35 presumably because the pro-American Nicolas Sarkozy became the 23rd President of the French Republic in May 2007. No other event would explain France's sharp descent.

Germany fell to the 20th position most probably because the pro-U.S. Angela Merkel took over the Chancellorship from Gerhard Schroeder in November 2005. There's no other way to explain the demotion.

Japan was elevated to No. 29 for a mysterious reason. When RSF placed the country in the lowest position among the OECD member nations in 2004, it cited the notorious Kisha Kurabu (the exclusive Press Club) system as the most important reason. Kisha Kurabu is still there, actively manipulating information more than ever to eternalize the 1955 System which is the trap set up by America's Central Intelligence Agency against the Japanese people. In September 2005, for instance, Japan's media once again played a pivotal role to help the Liberal Democratic Party, headed by unscrupulous rapist Junichiro Koizumi, win a landslide victory in a snap election. So there is no reason to take Japan's ascension seriously. It looks as though no one in RSF understood that what I call the Glass Firewall is a far more formidable barrier to free press than the Great Firewall of China.

Also Reporters without Borders overlooked more overt suppression sometimes practiced here. At least two bodies of journalists were sunk off a pier of Yokohama port in 2007. At that time, they were recklessly digging into the large-scale corruption involving Japanese banks, government and their American counterparts. It's just that Japanese collaborators of RSF forgot to pass on the disgraceful reports to the Paris headquarters. That must have been quite easy because the Japanese media artfully hushed up these incidents as isolated cases. Any scandal in Japan is nothing but an unsubstantiated rumor on the web unless authentificated by Kisha Kurabu.

Russia's standing remained practically unchanged during the 4-year period despite the fact that Vladimir Putin was further ratcheting up the suppression of free press. Anna Politkovskaya of Novaya Gazeta was gunned down by Putin's henchman in October 2006. She was just one of the dozens of journalists murdered under Putin's brutal rule.

The United States was divided into two parts, "American Territory" and "Extra-Territorial" which is a sheer baloney. How can we believe the cradle of free press was faring relatively well within its borders while the situation was that lousy overseas?

Even so, I must admit that the ranking of the American Territory was a fair assessment. There is a catch, though. My prediction is that in 2009, the U.S. ranking will shoot up thanks to the Obama factor, whereas in reality the Obama Nation should soon deserve a placement in the neighborhood of China and Russia.

Moreover, these opportunists in RSF tend to overlook one important thing. Actually "journalists" should be divided into two different groups: reporters and editors. The latter should also include freelance journalists and pundits, who normally play a dual role - reporting and editing. They are people who are entitled to take positions, either right-leaning or liberal-biased. In the past, people thought there was nothing wrong with editors pursuing a certain political end. But since the affirmative action mindset took root in America and many other "democracies," people have started expecting "journalists" to provide objective information as if there was such a thing as an unbiased news report. Under the circumstances, editors everywhere have started trying to pass off editorial views as straight news stories, as Bob Kohn lamented in his Journalistic Fraud - How The New York Times Distorts the News and Why It Can No Longer Be Trusted.

And unfortunately, we see unmistakable signs in RSF's evaluation criteria that it always uses this false objectivity as the most important yardstick with which to measure press freedom in the U.S. and other "democracies."

To date Reporters without Borders has grown into a EUR 4 million operation. Now all these people working for the big nonprofit organization seem to think their evaluations are a Vox Dei whereas the truth is that they just share the same arrogance and ignorance with the U.S. State Department which keeps busybodying other peoples in terms of their misbehaviors such as TIP (Trafficking in Persons.)

If it isn't ready to stop using the wrong evaluation criteria, being constantly misguided by collaborators scattered all over the world, and disseminating misleading annual reports, we must say Reporters without Borders has already lost its raison d'etre as an impartial watchdog.

It's about time that RSF should wake up, or better yet, break up. At any rate "journalists" in each country will have to take care of themselves.

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