Reporters Without Borders has released its annual “World Press Freedom Index” and guess what? It turns out that the world’s biggest conflict oil countries aren’t too big on freedom of the press.
We might as well start at the bottom — since that’s where you’ll find most of OPEC’s big producers. Out of 179 countries measured, here’s the stellar rankings of those OPEC countries the anti-ethical-oil lobby is always, in effect, helping out:
Iran = 175th.
Saudi Arabia 158th
Libya = 155
Iraq = 152
Angola = 132
Nigeria = 126
Algeria = 122
Venezuela = 117
Qatar = 114
United Arab Emirates = 112
Ecuador = 104
Kuwait = 78
Canada is the tenth freest country for journalists in the world — and the freest in the entire Western Hemisphere. Compared to the world’s other major oil exporters, it’s not even close.
Of course that means that journalists and writers and activists can pretty much say whatever they like about our government, our policies, our politicians, and our oil industry, without having to worry about being punished, or imprisoned, or murdered — as happens in Russia (a non-OPEC country, but a major oil producer that ranks just as dismally, at 142nd of 179).
That’s something we should be very proud of. It’s just one of the many reasons we’re so much more ethical than most other oil exporting nations. But it’s also something to keep in mind when you see anti-oil activists and writers directing so much of their energy towards attacking Canada. Under regimes where the state runs the oil industry, and it’s dangerous to criticize the state, it’s simply not safe for crusading journalists and mouthy opinion writers to blast the government and the industry, and expose environmental issues or human rights abuses. Here in Canada, it’s become a virtual industry for some filmmakers and writers to spin wild horror stories about the oil sands. In fact, our governments even give them money to attack our production and policies.
It isn’t just perfectly safe to be a thorn in the side of industry and politicians in Canada; it actually pays to do it. And so Canada —a country with the highest standards for the environment and human rights — is attacked almost daily, while those other oil exporting countries, so shamefully low on the press freedom list, can wreck the environment and ruin people’s lives without having to worry at all about bad publicity.