The 2013 Reporters Without Borders (RWB) World Press Freedom Index makes interesting reading. “This year’s index is a better reflection of the attitudes and intentions of governments towards media freedom in the medium or long term."
The same three European countries that headed the index last year hold the top three positions again this year. Of the 2013 Top Ten of the countries with the greatest freedom of the press eight are Monarchies: The Kingdom of the Netherland (Rank 2), the Kingdom of Norway (3), the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg (4), the Principality of Andorra (5), the Kingdom of Denmark (6), the Principality of Liechtenstein (7),the Dominion of New Zealand (8) and the Kingdom of Sweden (10). RWB: “Although many criteria are considered, ranging from legislation to violence against journalists, [monarchist] countries occupy the top of the index while dictatorial [republics] occupy the last three positions.”
Australia sits on rank 26, better than the rank 30 it occupied the year before. RWB does not explain Australia’s position, but the position in the top 30 may have something to do with the fact that the Australian media suffer from being in the hands of few media companies. News Limited (Murdoch) and Fairfax dominate the media business.
The USA turns up on rank 32, which may come as a surprise for the “great republic”. Constitutional Monarchies like Jamaica (rank 13) fare better than republics like France (rank 37).
The 14 countries with the most restricted media expression are all republics of some sort (people’s republics, democratic people’s republics or islamic republics like Iran, Yemen, Laos, China or Eritrea). The least free Monarchy on this list is the Kingdom of Bahrain on rank 165 (8 ranks better than in 2012).
This is a fact pointed out in the Canadian book : Freedom wears a Crown, and is a point well known to Monarchists, but ignored by republicans.