Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Malaysia falls to record low 145th in press freedom index

UPDATED @ 01:01:25 PM 30-01-2013
January 30, 2013
Reporters Without Borders credited increasingly restricted access to information for Malaysia’s decline in the index. — Reuters pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 ― Malaysia has plunged 23 rungs in the 2013 World Press Freedom Index and placed 145th out of 179 countries ― the country’s worst showing in the benchmark since 2002.
Malaysia had been ranked at 122 and 141 for the years 2011/2012 and 2010, respectively, in the index compiled by Reporters Without Borders.
According to the organisation, the drop was due to access to information “becoming more and more limited”.
A report by the organisation said that Malaysia’s “sorry record” was caused by the government’s repeated efforts to censor information.
It also attributed the decline in the country’s media freedom to what it described as the government’s campaign of repression, pointing to what is seen as the authorities’ heavy-handed crackdown on the Bersih rally for electoral reform last April.
Last year, several media personnel had alleged that police assaulted them and seized their camera equipment and memory cards, in the aftermath of the April 28 rally.
“Despite an all-out battle by rights activists and online media outlets, a campaign of repression by the government, illustrated by the crackdown on the ‘Bersih 3.0’ protest in April, and repeated censorship efforts, continue to undermine basic freedoms, in particular the right to information,” Reporters Without Borders wrote in its report.
Neighbours Thailand and Indonesia both outperformed Malaysia at 135th and 139th place respectively.
Other countries in Southeast Asia that had less favourable performances are the Philippines, Singapore, Laos, and Vietnam, which were respectively ranked at 147, 149, 168 and 172.

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