20 October, 2010

Malaysia plunged 10 notches in the 2010 World Press Freedom Index.

Malaysia has plunged 10 notches to 141 in the 2010 World Press Freedom Index - the lowest in nine years - putting it firmly in the bottom quarter of 178 countries.

The country failed to capitalise on last year's improvement where it moved up one notch from 132 to 131.

The issues which have perhaps affected Malaysia's poor ranking include the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission's investigation into Malaysiakini's cow-head video, the arrests of bloggers and the ban on a number of books by cartoonist Zunar.

Interestingly, Singapore (136) outranked Malaysia for the first time since Paris-based press watchdog group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) began releasing its ranking in 2002.

Among the 10 Asean countries, Malaysia is ranked higher than two countries which are deemed to have freer press - Thailand (153) and Philippines (156).

RSF has attributed this to political violence.

“Thailand - where two journalists were killed and some 15 wounded while covering the army crackdown on the 'red shirts' movement in Bangkok – lost 23 places,” said RSF, which issued its ninth annual index today.

“The Philippines lost 34 places following the massacre of over 30 reporters by partisans of one of Mindanao island's governors.”

(Read more here)

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