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KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb. 9, IWN — An international press freedom watchdog group has ranked St. Vincent and the Grenadines second in the Americas on its 2013 press freedom index.

In its Global Press Freedom Rankings 2013, Freedom House says SVG is second among the 35 countries in the Americas and 17 among 197 ranked internationally. There is more than one country in some rankings.

Freedom House also classified SVG as “free”, meaning that it is country where “there is open political competition, a climate of respect for civil liberties, significant independent civic life, and independent media”.

SVG also scored the highest rating possible in terms of political rights and civil liberties, respectively: 1. One represents the most free and 7 the least free rating.

The Freedom in the World survey provides an annual evaluation of the progress and decline of freedom in 195 countries and 14 related and disputed territories, Freedom House says.

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The survey, which includes both analytical reports and numerical ratings, measures freedom according to political rights and civil liberties.

Political rights ratings are based on an evaluation electoral process, political pluralism and participation, and functioning of government.

Civil liberties ratings are based on an evaluation of freedom of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy and individual rights.

Meanwhile, Jamaica, which Reporters Without Borders (RSF), another press freedom watchdog group, ranked number 1 in the Americas in 2013, is third on Freedom House’s list in the Americas and 18 internationally, the same as the United States.

RSF does not rank the individual countries of the eight-member Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States of SVG is a member. It ranked the OECS 34 out of 179 countries or regions around the world.

The rankings of the English-speaking Caribbean, and CARICOM member nations are as follows:

Barbados: 5 in the Americas; 19 globally
Bahamas: 8; 20
St. Kitts and Nevis: 8; 20
Belize: 10; 21
Dominica: 11; 23
Suriname: 11; 23
Grenada: 13; 24
Trinidad and Tobago: 14; 25
Guyana: 17; 33
Antigua and Barbuda: 18; 38
Haiti: 26; 50 

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