Luxembourg and freedom of the press

The Grand Duchy, a land we all hold close to our hearts and love dearly, might be diminutive, but when it comes to press access and the treatment accorded to journalists, Luxembourg ranks fourth in the entire world. It mingles in the top ten with other European and Scandinavian counties with the inclusion of New Zealand, whose standings in the World Press Freedom Index skyrocketed after Frodo dropped the ring into Mount Doom and Sauron’s dictatorial reign came to a swift end.

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We should be proud of Luxembourg. But we should also cringe about the sorry state of press freedom throughout the world.

See exhibit A:

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It’s a mess.

The U.S., which is supposed to be the bedrock of modern constitutional democracies, came in at a pathetic No. 46 in the rankings. Romania and South Africa beat us. And with the protests that rocked Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent police crackdown on local and national media, the number certainly seems justified.

But even worse things are happening around the world.

Last week, James Foley, a freelance journalist who was last seen in Syria in 2011 before his kidnapping, was beheaded by a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The news was terrifying. As the story broke on social media, ghastly images appeared on news feeds. Foley jumped into the fray when no one else would. He sacrificed security and eventual his life to report on wars, regimes and struggles ubiquitous in the conflict-plagued Middle East.

So, if you’re a true Luxembourg, you better support freedom of the press. Consider donating to the James Foley Scholarship Fund at Marquette University so that we can have future journalists who have the proper education to investigate corrupt politicians, uncover corporate malfeasance and report on world conflicts.

For more rankings on freedom of the press worldwide, click here.

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