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Watchdog launches global press freedom 'indicator'

Reporters Without Borders on Wednesday launched a new indicator measuring global press freedom by aggregating the scores of its annual index, from perennial table-topping Finland to worst offenders Eritrea.

"In view of the emergence of new technologies and the interdependence of governments and peoples, the freedom to produce and circulate news and information needs to be evaluated at the planetary as well as national level," the Paris-based watchdog said.

It said that its new indicator, launched after one of the deadliest years ever for journalists worldwide, stood at 3395, which would become a reference point.

Northern European countries topped the rankings of its separate Press Freedom Index, while the small, reclusive African nation of Eritrea came last.

The fluctuations caused by the Arab Spring in the rankings had now stabilised, the report said.

"The ranking of most countries is no longer attributable to dramatic political developments. This year's index is a better reflection of the attitudes and intentions of governments towards media freedom in the medium or long term," it said.

The biggest gain was achieved by Malawi, which moved up 71 spots to 75th and the biggest fall was recorded by war-torn Mali, which tumbled 74 places from its impressive previous ranking of 25th.

Selected rankings from Reporters Without Borders' 2013 World Press Freedom Index:

1. Finland

2. Netherlands

3. Norway

...

17. Germany

25. Cape Verde

29. United Kingdom

30. Ghana

32. United States

37. France

148. Russia

158. Egypt

...

174. Iran

175. Somalia

176. Syria

177. Turkmenistan

178. North Korea

179. Eritrea

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