Malaysia was ranked 143 out of 196 countries surveyed worldwide in the latest media freedom study, which shows it is not free.
Together with Angola and Madagascar, it earned a score of 64 out of 100, which is considered not free.
In the Freedom of the Press Index, the lower the evaluation score the freer the country.
The countries are evaluated based on legal, political and economic environments.
In Southeast Asia, Malaysia ranks below East Timor (18), the Philippines (21), Indonesia (23), Thailand (29) and Cambodia (30) but above Singapore (32), Brunei (34) and Vietnam (36).
The world top spot went to Finland. Norway and Sweden both tied for second place, followed by Belgium, Iceland and Luxembourg for fourth.
According to the Freedom of the Press Survey 2011 released in conjunction with World Press Day today, the overall freedom of the media has plunged to its lowest in over a decade.
Just one in six people worldwide today lives in countries with a media designated as free, said the report published by Washington-based research group Freedom House.
The survey recorded a steady deterioration in media freedom from 2005 to 2010, and the trend has affected every region of the world.
Of the 196 countries and territories assessed last year, a total of 68 were rated free, 65 rated partly free, and 63 were rated not free.
The report also noted several key trends driving the ongoing threats to media freedom, namely misuse of licensing and regulatory frameworks as a key method of control.
The report also said repressive regimes have intensified their campaign on new media — including satellite television, the Internet and mobile telephones — as well as the news outlets that employ them.