Freedom House has recently released its annual report on press freedom for 2014. The report begins on a grim note:
Conditions for the media deteriorated sharply in 2014, as journalists around the world faced mounting restrictions on the free flow of news and information - including grave threats to their own lives.
Regarding media freedom, a mere 14 percent of the world's population lives in a place which Freedom House designates as 'Free' and 44 percent of inhabitants live in places designated as 'Not Free'.
This past year, the greatest declines occurred in Libya and Thailand. Significant backsliding also occurred in South Sudan, Greece and Egypt, among other nations and territories.
Like with Freedom House's latest report on world freedom, Tunisia stands out as a post-Arab Spring bright spot in the Middle East.
This is a relatively short and very informative report that's worth reading in its entirety. The final paragraph of the report merits reflection:
The wide and growing range of threats to media freedom around the globe presents a stark challenge to democratic values. Responding to this challenge requires a collective acknowledgement that all infringements on media freedom - both the brutally violent and the seemingly mundane or rational - limit the marketplace of ideas that lies at the core of a free and democratic society.
Media freedom is under fire across the globe. And, while dramatic positive shifts are unlikely to occur in a mere twelve months, let's hope that the situation improves in 2015.