PARIS, CMC – The Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) Wednesday said political tension and judicial harassment have led to several Caribbean countries receiving low grades on its global press freedom index.
But Jamaica emerged as the western hemisphere’s leader, replacing Canada, according to a statement issued by the RSF.
It said Trinidad and Tobago, which was ranked 44th, has still “not stopped its illegal monitoring of journalists’ phone calls and attempts to identify their sources although it promised to stop in 2010.
In Suriname, which dropped nine places to 31st , RSF said “often stormy relations between President Desi Bouterse and many journalists are unlikely to improve after the passage of an amnesty law for the murders of around 15 government opponents, including five journalists, three decades ago” when Bouterse headed a military government in the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
RSF said that the seven-member Organization of East Caribbean States (OECS) fell eight places to 34th because of “often direct pressure from the political authorities on news media and the failure to move ahead with the decriminalization of defamation.