Talk of the trade: Britain isn't, Belgium is

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN has a better record than Italy, Malta and Brazil but not as good as that of Ecuador, Uruguay or Namibia, and ranks about the same as Gambia. In what? In press freedom. The American human rights group Freedom House has issued its annual league table measuring how far newspapers, television and radio are restricted by government interference, commercial pressures and monopoly ownership.

Britain and Gambia came equal 39th out of the 186 countries listed. Belgium was judged to have the freest media and Iraq the least free. Britain's rating suffers from the government ban on broadcasting the words of Irish terrorist sympathisers and from the concentration of press ownership, with Rupert Murdoch's News International controlling five daily and Sunday titles.