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Asian press among world’s most fettered

NEW YORK (UCAN): North Korea was judged the world’s worst country for press freedom, the United States of America Freedom House said, at the release of the results of its annual survey in World Press Freedom Day, May 3.

The People’s Republic of China, the Union of Myanmar and Vietnam come in among the nations with the most fettered press, the survey of 197 countries says.

The Global Press Freedom Rankings rate countries as free, partly-free or not-free. Other Asian nations listed in the not-free category include Laos, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia.

Thailand escaped by one place to be classified as partly-free, together with Nepal, The Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Korea and Mongolia.

While China is in joint 187th place out of the 197 countries surveyed, Hong Kong was listed as partly-free in 70th place and Taiwan, which is classified as free, is number 47.

All of the 10 countries listed as most-free are in Europe.

The report concludes that the proportion of the global population that enjoys a free press has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade.

“Only 14.5 per cent 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 says.

It notes that despite its lowly position at 187, Myanmar is one of three countries that showed major gains in press freedom after it had “for many years endured media environments that were among the world’s most oppressive.”

While China is in joint 187th place out of the 197 countries surveyed, Hong Kong was listed as partly-free in 70th place

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