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Freedom of press in SEE on decline - Freedom House

SOFIA (Bulgaria), May 8 (SeeNews) - Freedom of press in Southeast Europe (SEE) declined in 2013, as most of the countries in the region remained only 'partly free', independent watchdog organisation Freedom House said.

Six countries in SEE dropped in the organisation's 2014 Freedom of the Press ranking released last week, five kept their positions and only one - Romania - improved its score.

Slovenia was the region's only 'free' country in terms of press freedom. On the opposite end of the table, Turkey was the only one described as 'not free'.

"Constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press and expression are only partially upheld in practice, undermined by restrictive provisions in the criminal code and the Anti-Terrorism Act. Turkey remained the world's leading jailer of journalists in 2013, with 40 behind bars as of December 1, according to the Committee to protect journalists," Freedom House said upon the release of the ranking.

"The press freedom climate deteriorated sharply during the year as journalists were harassed and assaulted while attempting to cover the Gezi Park protests that broke out in Istanbul in May, and dozens were fired or forced to resign in response to sympathetic coverage of the protesters' demands," it added.

Montenegro's score declined from 36 to 39 as a result of hostile official rhetoric against the press and impunity for attacks which included bombs targeting journalists and news outlets, Freedom House said.

Bulgaria's score declined from 37 to 39 mostly due to a deterioration in the political category.

Following are details about the countries in SEE from Freedom House's Freedom of the Press 2014 report.

Rank Country Status
39 Slovenia Free
74 Serbia Partly Free
78 Bulgaria Partly Free
78 Montenegro Partly Free
83 Croatia Partly Free
84 Romania Partly Free
98 Albania Partly Free
98 Kosovo Partly Free
103 Bosnia and Herzegovina Partly Free
112 Moldova Partly Free
122 Macedonia Partly Free
134 Turkey Not Free

 

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