Lies without borders

Thankfully, we still have enough of a sense of humour not to take the bait with RSF’s tricks and rankings

With an impressive and not particularly smart brand of stubbornness, the anonymous organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published its 2019 World Press Freedom ranking, which evaluates freedom of speech in 180 countries around the world. As was the case last year, Bulgaria is ranked 111th (with 35.38 points). To put things in perspective, the top spot is taken by Norway, which has the freest media with a score of 7.82, while the last-placed country is Turkmenistan with 85.44 points.

The previous occupant of the bottom spot, North Korea, has moved up one place to 179th. You may wonder why I used the term “anonymous” to describe the organisation. Well, because it uses information from anonymous sources – perhaps out of security concerns, which are not completely unfounded.

As for Bulgaria’s ranking, the sources are not only anonymous but also Bulgarian, lying and stupid. Anyone can read the RSF profile of Bulgaria and see that the first of the reasons stated for the country’s abysmal evaluation is the murder (!) of Rousse journalist Viktoria Marinova. Just look at what brilliant thoughts RSF offers on its webpage: “In 2018 we saw the murder of TV journalist Viktoria Marinova in October and the vulgar manner in which the authorities tried to cover up the circumstances around it with a hastily patched-up investigation.” The righteous anger of the reporters without shame and boundaries goes way beyond journalism and spills into an embarrassing outburst of stupidity and idiocy. In particular, the lightning-quick apprehension of the murderer, Severin Krasimirov, and the impeccable work of Bulgarian forensic scientists suddenly becomes a vulgar attempt at a cover-up in the hands of the reporters without morals. Do the reporters without shame and boundaries know which the top-ranked European country is in terms of successfully completed murder investigations for 2017 with an astounding 99% rate of success? Well, let me inform them – the country in question is Bulgaria. It is also among the best-performing countries when it comes to rape investigations, albeit not the №1. Now is the time to point out that there are 20 (twenty!) times more rapes per capita in the UK compared to Bulgaria. The press there stayed mum on the statistics of 1,500 raped children under the age of 11 in the town of Telford and its broader area over several years. The crimes were committed by Pakistani gangs with the complicity of senior UK politicians (for whom pedophilia is not that foreign of a concept). And all this while Theresa May was interior minister of the former empire. And yes, the number of raped children is really 1,500 and some of them were eventually killed – burned alive to be exact, together with their parents. And yet the local media stayed dead silent. This really happened in 21st-century UK. And since such horrific deeds are hard to believe, you are welcome to research them yourselves; just type in “Telford child sexual scandal” in the search engine. While you are at it, you may as well check the pedophile scandals involving babies in Norway, one-month babies. I mention the country because it is held as an example for free press by the RSF. Check how free the media there is to write about the pedophiles.

Of course, this will not impress the liars without borders and those who believe them. Just as those who believe that the Earth is flat are not impressed by the mountains of evidence to the contrary, including satellite images of the planet.

Yes, we saw what was the assessment of the RSF for Bulgaria and its invariable 111th place in recent years. Bulgaria is presented, to put it mildly, as incompetent and deceitful or - to be more accurate – as an idiotic country. But Bulgaria looks so in comparison with the larger part of the remaining countries. Let’s take for instance a number of smaller and very nice countries: Samoa (22nd place), Cabo Verde (25th place), Papua-Nova Guinea (38th place), Tonga (45th place). All these states apart from being small are freer than the US which takes the 48th place in the ranking. This, however, is not so important because a country can be small and free but at the same time another country can be big and unfree. The issue with these four randomly chosen small countries is that it would be a little far-fetched to talk about freedom of press there because there are no media in these countries in the conventional sense of this word. In Tonga, for instance, there are only four weeklies which at that cover all kinds of funny Tongan topics. The country has no democracy or politics in the conventional sense of the word. Not that these small and nice states need such things so much. But the ranking of the RSF according to the media freedom includes the states which are not recognised as such in the commonly accepted sense. Northern Cyprus deserves special note, it is ranked 74th, i.e. much before the ill-famed Bulgaria.

I would not like to elaborate on the history of Northern Cyprus here because the information is readily googleable. I would only note that this state is recognised only by the Republic of Turkey and for obvious reasons. Yes, but Northern Cyprus is ranked at a respectable 74th place according to RSF or, to be more accurate, according to their anonymous local analysts. After Northern Cyprus, on the 75th place in the RSF-2019 ranking comes Kosovo, which by the way is recognised by Bulgaria. And is not recognised by many other countries of the globe, including several EU Member States. Nevertheless, it is seen as a fairly free country as regards media freedom. I am not sure that the people living in Northern Kosovo would agree with that.

I could extend the list of silly things in the outrageous document compiled by journalists who appointed themselves as Reporters without Borders (RSF). Maybe, some of the readers decide to fiddle around with this document no matter if they share my opinion about its authors or consider the RSF as an apex of the investigative and politically committed journalism. But I would like to conclude this analysis with something that really raises concerns and is more than alarming. First, because it is nefarious. Second, because it occurs en masse, in particular in a great (at least until recently) state. And third, because it is lethally dangerous.

I believe that burning books is one of the most villainous human deeds. I am talking about books irrespective of their medium. And let us not make haste sending into oblivion the paper books. Because all of our so-smart and swift computer memories are only a thin line away from total destruction. A perfect Sun storm which will for sure hit our planet (the question is when) will do exactly this – turn all of our computer chips into structureless drops of molten metal. This, in the opinion of some experts, will throw us back into Stone Age. Only experts avoid mentioning who of us will take a trip to this remote epoch. Well, I will tell you. Not all of us will be back. And most of us won’t. Not more that 5% will come back, or one out of twenty.

The remaining 95% will not return to anywhere. So much about the pros and cons of digitalization.

Let us now brush aside the grim scenarios and return to burning books in all of their versions. This takes in the flames over the Library of Alexandria, the stakes of the Inquisition and burning books on the squares of Germany during the Third Reich. The books are not only destroyed physically in the fire. The books can be banned (and the communists were unsurpassed in that) but there is something even more horrible. The books are re-written under the pressure of hysterical and full-throated minorities, unsatisfied (and insatiable) who otherwise are good for nothing. And who are very well aware of their own unworthiness. In Sweden (3rd place in media freedom ranking) they decided to re-write Pippi Longstocking. In Spain (29th place) they are going to ban The Little Red Riding Hood. In the country which one nutty president wants to make great again they now tear down monuments to founding fathers and re-write their classics, such as Mark Twain and Jack London. In the world’s oldest democracy (Magna Carta dates back to 2015 and Cromwell overhauled the Great Britain in 1645 when the great Isaac Newton was only two years old) nowadays the decaying social tissue exudes malevolence from its every pore.

According to the RSF, the US today is ranking after Botswana and Tonga in terms of freedom of speech but at least before Senegal. Although I do not see what difference would it make if it were vice versa. England with its 33rd place is doing better. Because it beats Cabo Verde and Ghana, but is behind Burkina Faso and Papua-Nova Guinea. Why so? Just because! Unknown are the ways of the Reporters and have no borders either. It is good that we have not lost our sense of humour as yet and do not pay much heed to their rankings.

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