Guess Which Country Ranks 47th in Press Freedoms

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re living in it.

Here's a case where 'if it's yellow, let it mellow' may not be the best indicated course of action. (Graphic: Reporters Without Borders)

Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

America’s civil libertarians, free thinkers and First Amendment absolutists have only minor cause to panic. The situation for press freedoms in the United States of America is still colored as “Satisfactory” on the “World Press Freedom Index 2012” released by Reporters Without Borders.

A “Satisfactory situation” is a perfectly acceptable grade, like a B health-department rating at a restaurant. “Satisfactory situation” is preferable to “Difficult situation” or “Very serious situation,” and even beats “Noticeable problems.” In fact, “Satisfactory situation” is only one rung down the freedom-of-press ladder from “Good situation.”

Occupy Everywhere has exposed the tenuous grasp of America’s newsgathers on their right to report what they observe when citizens exercise the right of peaceful assembly in the public spaces of the United States of America.

The not-so-good situation is that the United States ranks 47th in the world for press freedoms. The land of the free dropped 27 notches from last year’s assessment. This double-digit demotion is due to a spate of arguably “unlawful” arrests of reporters who were minding their own business at Occupy Wall Street protests.

If Occupy Everywhere accomplishes nothing else, it will have exposed the tenuous grasp of America’s newsgathering foot soldiers on their right to report what they observe when citizens exercise the right of peaceful assembly in the public spaces of the United States of America. You can either thank Occupy for America’s precipitous drop in the Reporters Without Borders esteem, or blame Occupy for that slide, depending on your perspective.

While we’re talking perspectives, test your perception versus the realities of U.S. liberties in TakePart’s simple over/under betting challenge based on the Reporters Without Borders report card:

Which of the following countries are ranked better for press freedoms than the world’s best-branded democracy? Which are ranked worse?

Estonia: More Free/Less Free

Mongolia: More Free/Less Free

Czech Republic: More Free/Less Free

Jamaica: More Free/Less Free

Germany: More Free/Less Free

Namibia: More Free/Less Free

Japan: More Free/Less Free

Surinam: More Free/Less Free

Poland: More Free/Less Free

Mali: More Free/Less Free

Niger: More Free/Less Free

Lithuania: More Free/Less Free

Uruguay: More Free/Less Free

Slovenia: More Free/Less Free

France: More Free/Less Free

Ghana: More Free/Less Free

South Africa: More Free/Less Free

Botswana: More Free/Less Free

The over/under answers are contained in the Reporters Without Frontiers PDF, accessible here.

Thanks to Boing Boing for the news alert.

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