Press freedom bad in Asia

Rich countries, however, do not necessarily mean they have better press freedom, the poll showed.

The United States, Britain and Japan were ranked lower than Slovenia and Costa Rica. Surprise Surprise: Sri Lanka is 51st, India is 80th ! (….and Thailand 65th…,)
Sri Lanka being best in South Asia.

Press freedom is under threat worldwide, with the situation in Asia being especially bad, a Paris-based advocate group said Thursday.

In its first worldwide index gauging respect for press freedom, Reporters Without Borders found that North Korea, China, Myanmar, Turkmenistan and Bhutan are the five worst places among 139 countries and territories graded.

Rich countries, however, do not necessarily mean they have better press freedom, the poll showed.

The United States, Britain and Japan were ranked lower than Slovenia and Costa Rica on the list.

"In the worst-ranked countries, press freedom is a dead letter and independent newspapers do not exist," Reporters Without Borders said in a statement on its Web site.

"The only voice heard is of media tightly controlled or monitored by the government," the group said.

Independent journalists in those places, very few in number, are constantly harassed, imprisoned or forced into exile by the authorities, the group said.

Foreign media is banned or allowed in a very small number and always closely monitored in those countries, it added.

The top five countries of the press freedom index are Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands and Canada.

Of the Asian countries and territories ranked, Hong Kong came first, winning the 18th position on the list.

Japan, second in Asia, got the 26th place, same as South Africa and Austria.

Taiwan and South Korea respectively obtained the 35th and the 39th rankings.

As for Southeast Asian countries, Indonesia gained the 57th position, Thailand the 65th, Cambodia the 71st, the Philippines the 89th, Malaysia the 110th, Brunei the 111th, Vietnam the 131st, and Laos the 133rd.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, took the 51st place, whereas India was 80th, Bangladesh 118th, Pakistan 119th and Nepal 127th.

Reporters Without Borders said the "poor" ranking of the United States in 17th position is mainly due to the growing number of journalists arrested or jailed there.

"Arrests are often because journalists refuse to reveal their sources in court. Also, since the Sept 11 (2001) attacks, several journalists have been arrested for crossing security lines at some official buildings," the group said.

The press freedom index was compiled from results of a survey of local and foreign journalists, researchers and legal experts about press freedom violations in their places, including attacks on journalists and controls over media in the past year. Reporters Without Borders said some countries are not included in the ranking because there is lack of reliable information on them.
(Courtesy Japan Today)

Laugh Zone
Burying twenty
Once, in Galle, an instructing attorney came up to a counsel to beg a subscription towards the funeral expenses of a brother counsel who had died in distressed circumstances. The instructing attorney at once tendered a Rs 1000 note.

"Oh, I only want Rs 50 from each contributor, said the counsel.

"Take it, my dear fellow," replied the instructing attorney. "And while you're at it, bury twenty of them!"

Why should I ?
The local Sarvodaya office realized that it had never received a donation from the town's most successful lawyer.

A local volunteer calls to solicit his donation, saying "our research shows that even though your annual income is over a million rupees you do not give one cent to charity! Wouldn't you like to give back to your community through The Sarvodaya?"

The lawyer thinks for a moment and says: "First, did your research show that my mother is dying after a long, painful illness and has huge medical bills far beyond her ability to pay?"

Embarrassed, the Sarvodaya rep mumbles, "Uh, no."

"Secondly, that my brother, a disabled soldier, is blind and confined to a wheelchair and is unable to support his wife and six children?"

The stricken Sarvodaya rep begins to stammer an apology but is cut off.

"Thirdly, that my sister's husband died in a dreadful traffic accident", the lawyers voice rising in indignation, "leaving her penniless with a mortgage and three children?"

The humiliated Sarvodaya rep, completely beaten, says simply, "I had no idea."

The lawyer then says"...and if I don't give any money to THEM, why should I give any to you?"

Choice of brains

A lawyer finds out he has an inoperable brain tumor. It's so large, they have to do a brain transplant. His doctor gives him a choice of available brains. There's a jar of rocket scientist brains for rupees 10 an ounce, a jar of regular scientist brains for rupees 15 an ounce, and a jar of lawyer brains for the sum of rupees 800 an ounce. The outraged lawyer says, "This is a ripoff! How come the lawyer brains are so damned expensive?" The doctor replies, "Do you know how many lawyers it takes to get an ounce of brains?"

Next Question

"You're a high-priced lawyer! If I give you rupees 500, will you answer two questions for me?"

"Absolutely! What's the second question?"

Whose fault is it anyway?

A surgeon, an architect and a lawyer are having a heated barroom discussion concerning which of their professions is actually the oldest profession.

The surgeon says: "Surgery is the oldest profession. God took a rib from Adam to create Eve and you can't go back further than that."

The architect says: "Hold on! In fact, God was the first architect when he created the world out of chaos in 7 days, and you can't go back any further than that!"

The lawyer puffs his cigar and says: "Gentlemen, Gentlemen...who do you think created the chaos??!!"

I'm a rabbit

The Police Department, The CID, and the STF are all trying to prove that they are the best at apprehending criminals. The President decides to give them a test. He releases a rabbit into a forest and each of them has to catch it.

The CID goes in. They place animal informants throughout the forest. They question all plant and mineral witnesses. After three months of extensive investigations they conclude that rabbits do not exist.

The STF goes in. After two weeks with no leads they burn the forest, killing everything in it, including the rabbit, and they make no apologies. The rabbit had it coming.

The Police go in. They come out two hours later with a badly beaten bear. The bear is yelling: "Okay! Okay! I'm a rabbit! I'm a rabbit!"

Money in a coffin

An old man was on his death bed. He wanted badly to take all his money with him. He called his priest, his doctor and his lawyer to his bedside. "Here's rupees 30,000 cash to be held by each of you. I trust you to put this in my coffin when I die so I can take all my money with me." At the funeral, each man put an envelope in the coffin. Riding away in a limousine, the priest suddenly broke into tears and confessed that he had only put rupees 20,000 into the envelope because he needed rupees 10,000 for a new baptistery. "Well, since we're confiding in each other," said the doctor, "I only put rupees 10,000 in the envelope because we needed a new machine at the hospital which cost rupees 20,000." The lawyer was aghast. "I'm ashamed of both of you," he exclaimed. "I want it known that when I put my envelope in that coffin, it held my personal check for the full rupees 30,000."

"It was so cold last week that I saw several lawyers with their hands in their own pockets."

Streets of fire

As the lawyer woke up after surgery, he said" "Why are all the blinds drawn?"

The doctor answered: "There's a big fire across the street, and we didn't want you to think the operation was a failure."

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