BEIRUT: Lebanon has topped the Arab world in terms of press freedom, according to the Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2011 report, released Monday.
Ranked “partly free” by one of the world’s leading press freedom surveys, Lebanon came in 108th place alongside Indonesia, Mauritania and Sierra Leone.
It beat Turkey, which came in 112th place, and also outperformed Kuwait which sunk to 124th place after tying with Lebanon in the 2010 survey at 115th. However, Lebanon failed to outdo Israel, which came in 61st.
Other Arab countries fared significantly poorer, with Jordan placing 141st, Egypt 146th and Iraq and Morocco 150th.
Saudi Arabia and Yemen came in 177th place. Syria had one of the lowest rankings in the 196-country survey, at 181st place alongside Somalia.
Libya had the third lowest press freedom rate, only beating North Korea and Turkmenistan.
According to the report, 2010 witnessed further declines in worldwide press freedom, which has sunk to the lowest point in over a decade.
“In the Middle East, a number of governments with long-standing records of hostility to the free flow of information took further steps to constrict press freedom by arresting journalists and bloggers and censoring reports on sensitive political issues,” the report said.
However, the report did not take into account consequences of recent popular revolts across the Middle East and North Africa, which may lead to “potentially dramatic changes” and “reverse the negative trends.”