Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2006

In this year's Press Freedom Ranking of countries, that was published by Reporters Without Borders yesterday, Slovak republic ranks 8th world's freest country regarding the freedom of press and speech, with Northern European countries (Finland, Island, Norway), Netherlands, Ireland, Estonia and Czech republic at the very top of the table. These countries have no recorded censorship, threats, intimidation or physical reprisals of journalists or other individuals. Last year's press freedom champion, Denmark, dropped 18 places, because of serious threats against the authors of the Mohammed cartoons. United Kingdom comes 27th, which means a slight drop in the Index comparing to the 2005 Report. The RWB's table also mirrors the steady erosion of press freedom in France (35th), Japan (51st) and the United States (53rd). The worst violators of free expression are Saudi Arabia (161st), Iran (162nd), China (163rd), Burma (164th), Cuba (165th), Eritrea (166th), Turkmenistan (167th) and North Korea (168th).

According to the RWB's webpage, organization compiled the Index by asking the 14 freedom of expression organisations that are its partners worldwide, its network of 130 correspondents, as well as journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists, to answer 50 questions about press freedom in their countries. The Index covers 168 nations.

Friday, October 13, 2006

100 days in the life of my country

One hundred days in power, it is a reason for celebration, isn't it? The Presidency of the PES (Party of European Socialists) 'congratulated' the Slovak main ruling political subject, Direction - Social Democracy (Smer - SD) yesterday by deciding to suspend its membership from the PES for 10 months due to entering a government coalition with radicals from the SNS.
On the occasion of this jubilee the right-wing Slovak Democratic and Christian Union - Democratic Party (SDKU-DS) , which is our most important opposition party and while in power, managed to introduce many free market reforms, including flat tax and private pension accounts, held a press conference to review the period since General Election in June.
Leader of the SDKU-DS and ex-PM, Mikulas Dzurinda described the last hundred days as a period of "very strong words, but very weak action". It emerged that this government has no conceptual solutions; solutions that can be considered a real alternative to the 'common sense programme' of the previous centre-right Cabinet. Although Socialists became Election winners by commiting themselves to the values of the Welfare state, they are now wavering and failing to deliver their promises. They do not have a courage to introduce the changes they were announcing. Powerful and convincing arguments of the economic analysts and other experts halt them from making an about-turn, so at least they try to distort and damage our successful reforms. According to Dzurinda, our socialist government is on the defensive. "They started like that and they go on like that." In spite of our populist, hesitant and helpless government, I expect our economy to grow fast and I believe that Slovakia's good years lay ahead, he added.