Press Freedom

November 2010 • Volume 4, Issue 11
Can governments control the press in the Internet age?
By Jennifer Koons


Grieving relatives and colleagues mourn reporters shot to death (Reuters/Erik de Castro)
Grieving relatives and colleagues mourn reporters shot to death during the politically motivated massacre last November of 57 Filipinos — 32 of them journalists. Worldwide, 72 journalists were killed in connection with their jobs in 2009. Thousands more faced rigid censorship. (Reuters/Erik de Castro)

Press freedom around the globe declined for the eighth year in a row in 2009, with more than three-quarters of the world's population now living in countries without a free press. It was once thought that new technologies — such as cell phones and the Internet — would help to open up repressive societies. But as fast as reporters in those countries adopt technologies that enable them to connect to the outside world, authoritarian governments like China, Iran and Russia devise sophisticated new tools to control the flow of online information. Meanwhile, dictatorial regimes continue to use heavy-handed, old-school methods to control the world's media, including intimidation and violence. Fifty-two journalists were murdered in 2009, most of them while investigating corruption or politics. Another 136 journalists were jailed — the highest number since 2003 and a 68-percent increase over 2000. Such trends alarm media experts, who say press freedom is a prerequisite for economic development and a harbinger for the future direction of political and social freedoms.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Journalism, Newspapers, and the Media
Jan. 28, 2022  Misinformation and the Media
Oct. 02, 2020  Social Media Platforms
Sep. 18, 2020  The News Media
Aug. 24, 2018  Conspiracy Theories
Jun. 09, 2017  Trust in Media
May 30, 2014  Digital Journalism
May 03, 2013  Media Bias
Apr. 26, 2013  Free Speech at Risk
Apr. 12, 2013  Combat Journalism
Nov. 2010  Press Freedom
Oct. 08, 2010  Journalism Standards in the Internet Age
Feb. 05, 2010  Press Freedom
Mar. 27, 2009  Future of Journalism Updated
Jun. 09, 2006  Blog Explosion Updated
Jan. 20, 2006  Future of Newspapers
Apr. 08, 2005  Free-Press Disputes
Oct. 15, 2004  Media Bias
Oct. 10, 2003  Media Ownership Updated
Dec. 25, 1998  Journalism Under Fire
Jun. 05, 1998  Student Journalism
Sep. 20, 1996  Civic Journalism
Sep. 23, 1994  Courts and the Media
Aug. 24, 1990  Hard Times at the Nation's Newspapers
Jan. 19, 1990  Finding Truth in the Age of ‘Infotainment’
Aug. 18, 1989  Libel Law: Finding the Right Balance
Jun. 06, 1986  Magazine Trends
Oct. 12, 1984  News Media and Presidential Campaigns
Jul. 15, 1983  State of American Newspapers
Oct. 23, 1981  High Cost of Libel
Dec. 23, 1977  Media Reforms
Mar. 11, 1977  News Media Ownership
Jun. 21, 1974  Access to the Media
Dec. 20, 1972  Newsmen's Rights
Aug. 16, 1972  Blacks in the News Media
Dec. 15, 1971  Magazine Industry Shake-Out
Jul. 18, 1969  Competing Media
Sep. 02, 1964  Politicians and the Press
Dec. 04, 1963  Libel Suits and Press Freedom
Jan. 09, 1963  Newspaper Mergers
Dec. 20, 1961  Reading Boom: Books and Magazines
Dec. 02, 1959  Privileged Communications
Apr. 25, 1956  Newsprint Deficit
May 06, 1953  Government and the Press
Sep. 21, 1948  Press and State
Sep. 05, 1947  Newsprint Supply
Mar. 26, 1947  Facsimile Newspapers
Dec. 10, 1945  World Press Freedom
May 01, 1940  New Experiments in Newspaper-Making
Nov. 04, 1933  Press Freedom Under the Recovery Program
Freedom of Information
Global Issues