Puzzler: Would NGM publish in North Korea?

National Geographic will soon be publishing an Arabic edition in, among other countries, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.

How free are these countries? As a proxy, let’s look at the Press Freedom Index compiled each year by Reporters Without Borders.

In 2009, Denmark ranked #1 in press freedom; Eritrea ranked #175 — dead last. Here’s how our Society’s new “partner” countries rank:

Egypt:  #143
Tunisia:  #154
Libya: #156
Saudi Arabia:  #163
Yemen:  #167

Which makes us wonder: If senior executives at our Society don’t feel as though the editorial content of our Magazine is compromised by publishing in these countries, then would they have any reservations about publishing in North Korea — at #174, only seven spots behind Yemen, and only one ahead of last-place Eritrea)?

Here’s some (funky) food for your thought….

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