Staff Editorial

US press freedom ranking plummets

The First Amendment was compromised in many ways in 2011. Perhaps one of the most troubling ways it was compromised, if you can really rank them against each other, was through the arrests of journalists covering Occupy Wall Street-inspired protests.

This suppression did not go unnoticed by Reporters Without Borders, who recently released their 2011-2012 global Press Freedom Index. The index reveals that the US has fallen 27 places since the advent of the Occupy Wall Street movement and its subsequent crackdown.

The US is now ranked 47th in the world on the Press Freedom Index. This steep decline is troubling, but it should not come as a surprise to those who have followed the coverage of the Occupy movement.

The people of this movement, even if you do not agree with their ideas, should be applauded for the courage they have displayed in the face of police brutality and governmental complacency. The reporters who strive to provide our nation with coverage of this movement should also be applauded for their bravery.

The fact that reporters are being arrested along with protestors should indicate to every American that freedom of speech is no longer valued by our government. They have sent this message to our nation’s police officers, and those officers have relayed that information to the public in the form of brutal attacks and arrests.

If our nation is to endure as a free society, a place where free speech is valued and reporters can practice their profession, then change needs to happen at the top. It needs to happen in D.C; it needs to happen in city halls; and it needs to happen in local police stations.

We need to vote into office Americans who respect the values our nation was founded on. Only then will we be able to ensure that our nation remains a place where freedom of speech is valued.


  • And why shouldn't it, what with student-supported campus newspapers advocating for censorship to conform to arbitrary standards of behaviour.

    • +1 i wish you ran this newspaper. your comments are more insightful/articulate than almost anything i've seen in the paper. the paper gets the most money of any student org, and it's no wonder why – they're a Public Relations mouth piece for the school. basically a branch of the University Communications office. it's so ironic they would even mention press freedom when many of their stories have been UniComm's press releases rewritten, they put the most enthusiastic reporters on the worst beats and threaten to fire them for commenting (while letting other writers comment at will), they fire an editor for plagiarism and don't say a word about it but raise cain about an sga candidate breaking some obscure rule about polling, they barely run corrections because there's too many, they let users remove each other comments and take weeks to check to see if they should have been removed, etc. etc. etc.
      that being said – the biggest problem with press freedom doesn't have to do with journalists being arrested by the govt – it's more about ownership/advertisers, which is very well demonstrated by this paper. you'll rarely see any deep criticism of the school (owner/advertiser) or any of it's allies, just like you won't see criticism of GE on NBC.

  • A tyrannical regime always gets more severe as it gets older and new leaders come in to play. The US is not any different.

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