Israel slips down rankings for media freedom

By Jessica Elgot, October 20, 2009
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Israel was criticised for restricting journalists in Gaza

Israel was criticised for restricting journalists in Gaza

Israel has lost its place at the top of Middle Eastern states for media freedom after the restrictions placed on journalists during the Gaza war.

Reporters San Frontières, which complies an annual ranking of media freedom in 176 countries, placed Israel in 93rd place, below Kuwait, UAE and Lebanon.

Severe restrictions were placed on journalists covering the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Three journalists were killed in Gaza, 20 injured and five were arrested.

"This nose-dive means it has lost its place at the head of the Middle Eastern countries," the group’s secretary-general Jean-Francois Julliard.

Israel’s Ambassador to the U.K, Ron Prosor said: "The report by Reporters Without Borders, borders on ridicule. If Lebanon ranks higher on the list of journalistic freedom, a country held hostage by the terror organization, Hizbollah, then this report should be printed in a humorous or satirical magazine.

"Every journalist who has ever visited Israel knows that access and journalistic freedom is part and parcel of Israel’s society and democracy."

Factors which determine a country’s media freedom according to the survey include attacks on journalists, arrests, censorship laws, intimidation and covert censorship.

Iran’s place in the league table fell dramatically to 172nd place after the arrests of many bloggers and journalists during the protests in the aftermath of the Iranian election.

    Last updated: 3:16pm, October 21 2009