TOPPING THE MOST censored nations in the world this year is the African nation of Eritrea, where no foreign reporters are allowed and where all domestic media are controlled by the dictatorship. Next are North Korea, Syria, and Iran -- "three nations where vast restrictions on information have enormous implications for geopolitical and nuclear stability," according to a recently released report by the Committee to Protect Journalists:
"The 10 most restricted countries employ a wide range of censorship techniques, from the sophisticated blocking of websites and satellite broadcasts by Iran to the oppressive regulatory systems of Saudi Arabia and Belarus; from the dominance of state media in North Korea and Cuba to the crude tactics of imprisonment and violence in Eritrea, Uzbekistan, and Syria . . . .
"One trait they have in common is some form of authoritarian rule," according to the CPJ. "Their leaders are in power by dint of monarchy, family dynasty, coup d'état, rigged election, or some combination thereof . . . .
"Lagging economic development is another notable trend among heavily censored nations. Of the 10 most censored countries, all but two have per capita income around half, or well below half, of global per capita income, according to World Bank figures for 2010, the most recent available."
As global businesses and investors charge into emerging markets, they know that Western-style freedoms, rule of law, and strong corporate governance and oversight are the long-run pillars of stable economies and countries. And more developing countries know that investors won't pour money and capital into markets plagued by corruption, political chaos, and weak regulation and enforcement.
Also critical to economic growth: financial disclosure and the free flow of business information, provided by the free and uncensored media. More than 900 journalists worldwide have been killed since 1992, according to the CPJ, with Iraq, the Philippines and Algeria as the top three most dangerous countries for journalists.