President Nicolas Maduro

TODAY VENEZUELA –  Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranks Venezuela in 137thnd spot, on a list ranking 180 countries according to level of press freedom.

The Paris-based press advocacy group says in its 2017 Press Freedom Index released Wednesday in Venezuela it’s “take sides or be silenced”.

The report says:

“Venezuela’s president since 2013, Nicolás Maduro, does his utmost to silence independent media outlets. The climate for journalists has been extremely tense since the onset of a political and economic crisis in 2016, and is exacerbated by Maduro’s frequent references to the “media war” being waged by national and international media outlets to discredit his administration.

The government tries to keep media coverage under close control and often expels foreign journalists. A 2010 law provides for sanctions in the event of any content “calling the legitimately constituted authority into question.”

This has led to arbitrary arrests and defamation prosecutions. The print media are meanwhile often threatened by strange newsprint shortages.

Around Latin America, Reporters Without Borders said Cuba was placed in spot 173, with Sudan, Vietnam, China, Syria, Turkmenistan, Eritrea and North Korea occupying the seven lowest rankings.

Mexico is the Western Hemisphere’s deadliest country for reporters. It was ranked 147 on the list.

Reporters Without Borders says press freedom in Colombia, ranked 129th, has slightly improved contrary to a global trend

Brazil, ranked 103, was also named among one of Latin America’s most violent countries for journalists.

Norway ranks in first place, followed by Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands.

The Americas’ best countries for journalists

  1. Costa Rica (6)
  2. Jamaica (8)
  3. Canada (22)
  4. Belize (41)
  5. United States (43)

Reporters Without Borders, or Reporters Sans Frontières, is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization that promotes and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press.