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Take physic, pomp

Freedom of the Press, USA style

And so we get the latest installment of the “Freedom House” (I mean, you’re just asking for trouble with a name like that) Annual Media Study. So let’s not dwell on the boring stuff (I mean, why does Iceland always manage to top every one of these “life quality” type polls? And why is it the worst affected country by the financial crisis? And are these two facts related?) because I know that all you care about is Latin America and how we got on down here. So here’s the necessary chart, again colour-coded for your dee lek tay shun.

Four countries are deemed by William Taft and friends to have free press down here. Thanks Bill.

1) Costa Rica. Reason: Those dudes are so relaxed they can’t be bothered to complain about anything.

2) Uruguay. Reason: Cows outnumber people 100 to 1. Four times as many people live in Buenos Aires as the whole of Uruguay and you want controversy and drama? Go drink a medio/medio.

3) Chile.Reason: Press is deemed free because when media bosses share cocktail receptions /holiday homes / lovers with gov’t ministers, the journalists who work for them aren’t stupid enough to question anything done by the administrations.

4) Guyana. Reason: Not a clue. Not only that but Guyana climbed out the yellow zone this year.

Anyway, congrats to the above greenies, I suppose. Then we have a whole bunch of states in the yellow, “partly free” zone. We got Bolivia up quite high (cos Santa Cruz papers tell the locals what they want to know, same with La Paz papers), we got Peru kinda middling (despite editors sacked by owners because they had the guts to point out rampant APRA corruption) and we have Argentina scoring quite low (mainly due to the ongoing spat between The Kirchners and Grupo Clarín) and a host of other mediocre scores for their own reasons.

Really, the yellow zone is where all of LatAm belongs, as the general LatAm saga of corrupt business&media pushes against corrupt government and then corrupt gov’t pushes back (lather, rinse, repeat), but that just wouldn’t be controversial enough, would it now? Because we gotta have

Venezuela in the red zone!
Despite letting media channels operate for five whole years after playing a key role in the failed coup d’etat, and despite reading rabid anti-Chavez headlines every single day in the most popular of dailies (without any editors getting booted or arrested, natch), Freedom House decides that Venezuela has a “Not Free” press and puts it in the same bunch as Zimbabwe, North Korea, Palestine and Israel.

Phun Phactoid: The director of Freedom House was for many many moons a bigwig at USAID. Almost certainly unrelated to the argument…not.

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