North Korea is the world’s worst country for press freedom, according to an annual survey released to coincide with today’s World Press Freedom Day.
China (PRC), Myanmar and Vietnam are also in the world’s worst twelve nations, the survey of 197 countries from the US-based activist Freedom House revealed.
The Global Press Freedom Rankings rated countries as ‘free’, ‘partly free’ or ‘not free’. Other Asian nations in the latter category included Laos, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia. Thailand escaped by one place and was classed as ‘partly free’, together with Nepal, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Korea and Mongolia.
While the PRC was in joint 187th place, Hong Kong (partly free) was 70th and Taiwan (free) was 47th. All of the ten most free countries were in Europe.
The proportion of the global population that enjoys a free press has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade, the report concluded.
“Only 14.5 percent of the world’s people—or roughly one in six—live in countries where coverage of political news is robust, the safety of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and the press is not subject to onerous legal or economic pressures.”
The report noted that despite its lowly position of 187th, Myanmar was one of three countries that showed “major gains” in press freedom after having “for many years endured media environments that were among the world’s most oppressive.”