“This year’s edition of Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press survey is an urgent reminder of the need to empower citizens in Asian countries that limit free speech and free media,” Ms Liu said. “Despite recent economic gains, media freedoms throughout Asia have continued to decline and worsen, as confirmed in this index. It is especially important for Radio Free Asia to keep carrying out its mission to provide its listeners with timely, reliable information and news happening within Asian countries that lack free media.”
Ms Liu participated in Freedom House’s release of its annual report at the Newseum as moderator of a panel of distinguished experts, including Bob Boorstin of Google, Frank Smyth of Committee to Protect Journalists, and Chris Walker and Karin Karlekar of Freedom House.
Freedom House’s comprehensive report, which examines the media environment in 196 countries and territories, cites the governments of all six countries into which RFA’s nine language services broadcast – China, North Korea, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia – as actively taking steps to censor news and information in print, on television and radio, online, and throughout all new media formats. These countries’ governments also intimidate and harass reporters, prevent public access to uncensored news and information, and restrict media freedoms in general, earning the survey’s designation of “Not Free.”
Most global press freedom rankings of RFA’s target countries remain consistent with previous surveys, with North Korea ranked at the top as the world’s worst free media environment. Notably, however, Cambodia’s ranking as a repressor of free press jumped up six places, after the recent spate of criminal disinformation lawsuits by Cambodian government officials against reporters, editors, and publishers to silence voices of opposition.
(Source: Radio Free Asia)