Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Media Freedom in Malaysia?

Today is World Press Day. According to the Freedom of the Press Survey 2011 released today, the overall freedom of the media has plunged to its lowest in over a decade. Translation: The report found that only 15 percent of the global population – one in six people – 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.

Malaysia didn’t score well, which is not surprising. After all, media freedom has receded for many years now that smart Malaysians turn exclusively to the Internet for their news. In fact, Malaysia was ranked 143 out of 196 countries surveyed worldwide in 2010 – meaning, the country is not free. Amongst ASEAN countries, Malaysia ranks below Philippines (93), Indonesia (108), Thailand (138) and Cambodia (141) but above Singapore (150), Brunei (163), Vietnam (177), Laos (184) and Myanmar (191).

In case, you’re wondering – the world top spot went to Finland. Norway and Sweden both tied for second place, followed by Belgium, Iceland and Luxembourg for fourth.

In the Freedom of the Press Index, the lower the evaluation score, the freer the country. This index assesses the degree of print, broadcast, and internet freedom in every country in the world, analyzing the events and developments of each calendar year. Ratings are determined through an examination of three broad categories: the legal environment in which media operate; political influences on reporting and access to information; and economic pressures on content and the dissemination of news.

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