The Nordic Region of Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark tops the World Press Freedom Index ranking number 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the index respectively. Compared to other Asian nations, Hong Kong places around the middle of the list while several other Asian countries fall far behind.
The index by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières, RSF) rates press freedom in 180 countries based on pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, and the quality of infrastructure that supports the production of news and information.
South Korea is to be found further down the index ranking 42nd followed by Taiwan coming in at number 43. Hong Kong ranks 80, Indonesia ranks 113 and Malaysia ranks 119 on the index.
The Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Singapore, and Laos are very far down the index ranking 136, 137, 140, 144, 160, and 172 respectively. Close to the very end of the index is Vietnam ranking 175 and China ranking 177 out of 180 nations.
According to RSF’s reports, journalism is blocked or seriously impeded in 73 countries and constrained in 59 others, representing 73% of all the countries it evaluated as states used the coronavirus pandemic to restrain journalists’ access to information. Media Philstar writes
RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire says to media Philstar, “Journalism is the best vaccine against disinformation. Unfortunately, its production and distribution are too often blocked by political, economic, technological and, sometimes, even cultural factors.”