Number 144. That’s what Reporters sans frontieres ranks Russia in its new annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index. According to RSF, the index is complied from questionnaires sent to 15 freedom of expression organizations and a network of 130 correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists, and human rights activists around the world. The index ranks 169 nations.
Russia’s ranking is surely nothing to be proud of, especially considering Russia’s indexed neighbors. The five states ranked above Russia are Azerbaijan (139), Sudan (140), Singapore (141), Afghanistan (142), and Yemen (143). The five states Russia looks down on are Tunisia (145), Egypt (146), Rwanda (147), Saudi Arabia (148), and Zimbabwe (149). As a whole, being sandwiched between these ten states makes Russia the rotten meat in a moldy press freedom sandwich.
As for why Russia ranked so low, RSF said this: “Russia is not progressing. Anna Politkovskaya’s murder in October 2006, the failure to punish those responsible for murdering journalists, and the still glaring lack of diversity in the media, especially the broadcast media, weighed heavily in the evaluation of press freedom in Russia.” Once again, the Politikovskaya murder hangs over Russia’s international standing like a bit lead albatross.