The 2016 edition of the World Press Freedom Index, which Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published on 20 April, 2016, shows that there has been a deep and disturbing decline in respect for media freedom at both the global and regional levels.
Ever since the 2013 Index, RSF has been calculating indicators of the overall level of media freedom violations in each of the world’s regions and worldwide. The higher the figure, the worse the situation. The global indicator has gone from 3719 points last year to 3857 points this year, a 3.71% deterioration. The decline since 2013 is 13.6%.
The many reasons for this decline in freedom of information include the increasingly authoritarian tendencies of governments in countries such as Turkey and Egypt, tighter government control of state-owned media, even in some European countries such as Poland, and security situations that have become more and more fraught, in Libya and Burundi, for example, or that are completely disastrous, as in Yemen.
2016 World Press Freedom Index – leaders paranoid about journalists
Most of the movement in the World Press Freedom Index unveiled today by Reporters Without Borders is indicative of a climate of fear and tension combined with increasing control over newsrooms by governments and private-sector interests.
The 2016 World Press Freedom Index reflects the intensity of the attacks on journalistic freedom and independence by governments, ideologies and private-sector interests during the past year.
Seen as a benchmark throughout the world, the Index ranks 180 countries according to the freedom allowed journalists. It also includes indicators of the level of media freedom violations in each region. These show that Europe (with 19.8 points) still has the freest media, followed distantly by Africa (36.9), which for the first time overtook the Americas (37.1), a region where violence against journalists is on the rise. Asia (43.8) and Eastern Europe/Central Asia (48.4) follow, while North Africa/Middle East (50.8) is still the region where journalists are most subjected to constraints of every kind
A nice postcard from the Pacific, but not Asia
Singapore falls in World Press Freedom Index for fourth consecutive year
Singapore has once again performed dismally in a global benchmark of press freedom, finishing 154th in the World Press Freedom Index.
It was the fourth consecutive year that Singapore has fallen in the rankings, ever since it finished 135th in 2012.
The Republic finished below countries such as Myanmar (143rd), Philippines (138th), India (133rd), Bangladesh (144th), and Malaysia (146th), in what was a poor year for media freedom in the Asia-Pacific region, said Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Singapore drops another rank to 154th in World Press Freedom Index, yet another lowest
Color representation of the press freedom index of the different countries on the world map
Singapore drops one rank from its 2015's 153rd ranking to 154th in Reporters Without Borders (RWB)'s 2016 World Press Freedom Index. This new ranking place the city state at its lowest ever rank in the index, the highest ever rank obtained by Singapore is 135th in 2012.
Asian countries that are above Singapore are Taiwan (51st), Hong Kong (69th), South Korea (70th), Japan (72nd), Thailand (136th), Indonesia (130th), Philippines (138th), Burma (143rd) and Malaysia (146th).
The World Press Freedom Index complied and published by RWB, reflects the intensity of the attacks on journalistic freedom and independence by governments, ideologies and private-sector interests during the past year.
related: Singapore ranked 75 out of 167 countries in EIU’s democracy index
Singapore drops to 154th spot in World Press Freedom Index
Reporters Without Borders (RWB) has ranked Singapore at 154th spot in its latest World Press Freedom Index. The Republic dropped one notch from the 153rd place it held last year, and 14 spots from the 140th place it occupied a decade ago, in 2006. RWB explained the ranking for Singapore as such:
“The Media Development Authority Act, the Films Act and the Broadcasting Act empower the Media Development Authority (MDA) to censor journalistic content, including online content. In April 2015, this government agency ordered the closure of The Real Singapore (TRS) news website because of content regarded as overly critical. Two of its alleged contributors were accused of “sedition,” which is punishable by 21 years in prison. Defamation suits are common in the city-state and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has personally brought prosecutions against bloggers.”“It is unfortunately clear that many of the world’s leaders are developing a form of paranoia about legitimate journalism,” RWB secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “The climate of fear results in a growing aversion to debate and pluralism, a clampdown on the media by ever more authoritarian and oppressive governments, and reporting in the privately-owned media that is increasingly shaped by personal interests.
RSF: Singapore Press Freedom worsen to 154th because of TRS and Roy Ngerng
Reporters without Borders (RSF) yesterday (April 22) published a damning report on Singapore’s press freedom with specific reference to the political persecution of The Real Singapore and defamation suit against Roy Ngerng. RSF lambaste Singapore’s censorship board, the Media Devlopment Authority (MDA), and the country’s oppressive censorship laws for repressing journalism in Singapore. You may view the official statement here.
“The Media Development Authority Act, the Films Act and the Broadcasting Act empower the Media Development Authority (MDA) to censor journalistic content, including online content. In April 2015, this government agency ordered the closure of The Real Singapore (TRS) news website because of content regarded as overly critical. Two of its alleged contributors were accused of “sedition,” which is punishable by 21 years in prison. Defamation suits are common in the city-state and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has personally brought prosecutions against bloggers.”
Earlier this year, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was awarded S$150,000 in damages for a defamation lawsuit he won in a default judgment against an online blogger who criticised him and his wife for conflict of interests. Lee Hsien Loong is both the Prime Minister and Chairman of the country’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF) company, GIC Pte Ltd. His wife, Ho Ching, is the CEO of Singapore’s other SWF company, Temasek Holdings. The two SWF companies borrow the country’s CPF fund at cheap interest rates as low as 2.5% under legislation approved by the Prime Minister himself, while reaping undisclosed profits from their investment returns.
S’pore ranked 154th in Reporters Without Borders 2016 index, maintains esteemed showing
Singapore has fallen from 153rd to 154th position in the Reporters Without Borders 2016 ranking, released on April 20.
Ever since Singapore rose to the highest position of 135th in 2012, it is the fourth consecutive year the republic has fallen in the rankings.
The overall report agonised about the “deep and disturbing” decline in media freedom globally and in specific regions over the past year.
Press Freedom Index
The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders based upon the organization's assessment of the countries' press freedom records in the previous year. It reflects the degree of freedom that journalists, news organizations, and netizens enjoy in each country, and the efforts made by the authorities to respect and ensure respect for this freedom. Reporters Without Borders is careful to note that the index only deals with press freedom and does not measure the quality of journalism nor does it look at human rights violations in general.
The report is based partly on a questionnaire sent to partner organizations of Reporters Without Borders (18 freedom of expression non-governmental organizations located in all five continents) and its 150 correspondents around the world, as well as to journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. The questionnaire asks questions about pluralism, media independence, environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, and infrastructure. The questionnaire takes account of the legal framework for the media (including penalties for press offences, the existence of a state monopoly for certain kinds of media and how the media are regulated) and the level of independence of the public media. It also reflects violations of the free flow of information on the Internet. Violence against journalists, netizens, and media assistants, including abuses attributable to the state, armed militias, clandestine organizations, and pressure groups, are monitored by RSF staff during the year and are also part of the final score. A smaller score corresponds to greater freedom of the press.
Based on the data collected, a score and a position or rank, complementary indicators that together assess the state of media freedom, are assigned to each country in the final report. Some countries are excluded from the report because of a lack of reliable, confirmed information. Because the questions and calculations upon which the scores are based have changed over the years, scores should only be used to compare countries within a given year. To follow a country’s evolution from year to year compare its rank in the index rather than its score.
related: Reporters Without Borders