For those that do not know what “Reporters Without Borders” is, it is one of the most notable journalism organizations in the world. RWB is mainly headquartered in France. It was founded back in 1985 with the aim of promoting “alternative journalism.”
Under Robert Menard, RWB’s main focus was promoting freedom of the press. One would ask: What does this have to do with the 2008 US Presidential Elections between GOP Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Democratic Presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois?
This non-governmental organization (NGO) has urged both candidates when either one of them wins on Election Day to pledge better protection for freedom of the press. For those keeping up with the US Presidential race, there has been little to no talk about freedom of the press.
Today, RWB had released its World Press Freedom Index. So far, the US has ranked about 36th. It ranks the same with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, South Africa, Spain, and Taiwan.
The group sent the letters to McCain and Obama back on September 8. Now, RWB is releasing the contents of what was written in those letters.
“Journalists are guardians of democracy whose rights must be protected around the world, not least in the United States, to which emerging democracies look for guidance, and where free speed is an inalienable right explicitly protected by the Constitution,” said the RWB.
The group said that the US ranking 36th in the world is unacceptable. It added that it’s unacceptable for a country that is known for the First Amendment. The nutshell version of the First Amendment is the freedom of speech.
The first part of the letter said: “We look to your administration for change from the policies of secrecy, ambiguity and avoidance that have hampered the work of a free press. We are also hopeful that as President you will champion the cause of press freedom and denounce its abuses everywhere, whether those abuses are committed by friends or foes.”
In short, RWB is urging whoever gets elected into office on November 4, whether it be McCain or Obama, to pledge better protection of freedom of the press.
So far RWB is making its issue clear. Ironically, this topic was not brought up in either the 3 general debates and the 1 and only VP debate. This could have made an interesting topic during the final debate in which they would touch base on both economic and domestic policy.
For those interested in reading the 2008 World Press Freedom Index, one can click on this link.