The questionnaire was sent to partner organisations of Reporters Without Borders (14 freedom of expression groups in five continents) and its 130 correspondents around the world, as well as to journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists.
It is based solely on events between 1 September 2004 and 1 September 2005. It does not look at human rights violations in general, just press freedom violations.
Reporters Without Borders compiled a questionnaire with 50 criteria for assessing the state of press freedom in each country. It includes every kind of violation directly affecting journalists (such as murders, imprisonment, physical attacks and threats) and news media (censorship, confiscation of issues, searches and harassment).
The 167 countries ranked are those for which we received completed questionnaires from a number of independent sources. Others were not included because of a lack of credible data.
The US ranks behind most Western democracies, coming in at 44. France, where the index was complied, ranked 30th. Also, interesting to note that our recent leaders of Islamic cartoon controversy--Denmark and Norway--are two of the countries tied at first place.