GAINESVILLE, FL: A recent study has found that the US is one of the countries least likely to experience bribery of the media.
The US finished with other developed nations near the top of an index that came out of a two-year study commissioned by the Institute for Public Relations and the International Public Relations Association. The countries where print journalists are most likely to accept payment for news coverage - as the study narrowly defines bribery - are found mostly in Asia and the Middle East.
The very nature of bribery made direct data hard to come by. As such, researchers based the index, the first of its kind, on an indirect approach, relying on factors such as adult literacy, press freedoms, and ethics codes.
The US ranked fifth, but its score wasn't far from that of Finland, which topped the 66-nation index. One way of accounting for how the US, famous for the liberties it affords its press, didn't finish first is that its score suffered from these very liberties.
"The US has a free press, but we don't have an enforceable ethics code," said Dean Kruckeberg, professor of PR at the University of Northern Iowa. "So it's free to be unfair."