On World Press Freedom Day, Equatorial Guinea lives up to its low ranking

Committee to Protect Journalists
The government of Equatorial Guinea responded to its distinction as the fifth most-censored country in the world by holding a news conference at which President Teodoro Obiang declared, “There are really no restrictions on any activity of the press, provided they are legal.” That message must not have made it to the head of the state-owned broadcaster, who on the same day “barred Samuel Obiang Mbana, an independent journalist … from participating in a televised debate to which he had been invited two days earlier to speak on how press freedom could transform the country.” Mbana tells CPJ’s Peter Nkanga, “I was told I am problematic, that I might say something the station is censored not to say, and which the government doesn’t want aired.” || Related: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honors journalists on World Press Freedom Day (U.S. Department of State)

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  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    Here are a couple of stories you may be interested in:

    Carlos Miller: 
    http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/162050/miami-dade-police-spokeswoman-arrests-photojournalist/
    http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/164883/photographer-complains-miami-herald-misrepresented-criminal-record/And Our OWS coverage: http://www.poynter.org/tag/occupy-wall-street/

    Thanks,

    Steve Myers
    Poynter.org

  • Anonymous

    And, of course, Mr. Myers does not deem it worthwhile to cover this:
    “Carlos Miller. The photojournalist has been arrested three times. His “crime?” Attempting to photograph police actions in the U.S. Most recently, in January, Miller was filming the eviction of Occupy Wall Street activists from a park in downtown Miami.

    In twist that’s become too familiar to many, the journalist became the story as police focused their crackdown on the scrum of reporters there to cover the eviction. Miller came face to face with Officer Nancy Perez, who confiscated his camera and placed him under arrest.

    And Miller is not alone. Since Occupy Wall Street began last September, more than 75 journalists have been arrested.  My colleague Josh Stearns has chronicled these arrests since the movement’s earliest days.”

    http://www.salon.com/2012/05/18/americas_press_freedom_threat/

    Here is the link to Mr. Stearns mentioned above:
    http://storify.com/jcstearns/tracking-journalist-arrests-during-the-occupy-prot

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I forgot another shining example.
    Our good friend Israel, which ranks 92.
    And does not allow ANY foreign journalist into Gaza or the West Bank.
    That’s territory that is not even theirs.
     http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/20-2

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Myers
    Unlike a lot of people, I have no problem with journalists having biases.
    I do have a problem when it diminishes their journalistic work.
    Especially when their umbrage is selectively applied.
    Journalists need to be careful with their attitudes while reporting on a story.And, they must keep things in context.In this case, your smugness about Equatorial Guinea “living up to its low ranking”is the attitude you bring to the story. It is not an attitude (or even a connection) reference to the original linked article.And the context is whether this particular event really constitutes a demonstration of how Equatorial Guinea earned its low ranking.Yes, Equatorial Guinea IS at the bottom of press freedom rankings, and it does have abominable record of press freedom. However, your citation is not a representative example. Many of the countries higher up on the Press Freedom Index have also committed this transgression. So, your example is not an apt one of Equatorial Guinea “living up to its low ranking”. There are plenty of other reasons that it has its low ranking.If barring speakers from the media because they express views contrary to what the government (or the corporations or the powerful or the privileged) wants aired is a sufficient condition to be of the fifth-lowest rank of press freedom, then most of the US main stream media should be ranked the same.How many people against the Iraq war were ever allowed air time in the lead-up to the war?Why are the pundits who got it so wrong then the ones that are called on now to tell us why war with Iran is a good thing?Why are the ones who had it right then, being marginalized and ignored now?How many people who criticized the big banks and investment firms were allowed air time during the meltdown?Why are those who had it right then still being marginalized and ignored now in the era of austerity and deficit reductions as cures for the recession?As a side note, the Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders ranks Equatorial Guinea 162 out of 179 countries.http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2011-2012,1043.htmlFor comparison, Iraq and Afghanistan where our country has spent trillions “bringing freedom” rank 152 and 150 respectively. Great return on our investment!Yemen, whose government we support, and where our government put pressure to jail a journalist who revealed embarassing truths about our bombings, is ranked 171. Actually, by your thinking, Mr. Myers, this would make the US lower on the ranking (if the barring by the government of a speaker from appearing on the media is sufficient reason for Equatorial Guinea being fifth from the bottom.)Bahrain, where we are allowing the squashing of the Arab Spring and where we are building a half-billion dollar base is 173, even lower.Saudi Arabia, our long-standing partner in the middle east and home to most of the 9/11 criminals is 158.And, last but not least, our own country ranks a mere 57th on the list.

    I mention the comparison because you have not taken similar umbrage at any of the events in these other countries.