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Turkmenistan, Iran 'Among Worst' Countries For Media Freedom

Members of the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders protest the lack of press freedom in Iran outside Iranian Embassy in Paris in May 2010.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says that "Many media paid dearly for their coverage of democratic aspirations or opposition movements" in 2011.

That's one conclusion in the Paris-based media watchdog's 10th annual Press Freedom Index, released on January 25.

The report said "crackdown was the word of the year in 2011," as control of news and information continued to be "a question of survival for totalitarian and repressive regimes."

The index ranks Turkmenistan, followed by North Korea and Eritrea, as the three worst countries for media freedom.

RSF ranked Iran 175 out of 179.

It also noted "a dramatic rise" in the number of media arrests in Azerbaijan, ranked 162nd, and says the regime in Belarus, ranked 168th, has become more repressive.

RSF said Finland has the most media freedom of any country.