The Asia-Pacific region as a whole exhibited a relatively high level of press
freedom in 2012, with 15 countries and territories (37.5 percent) rated Free, 12 (30
percent) rated Partly Free, and 13 (32.5 percent) rated Not Free. Yet the regionwide figures disguise considerable subregional diversity. For example, the Pacific Islands, Australasia, and parts of East Asia have some of the best-ranked media environments in the world, while conditions in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and other parts of East Asia are significantly worse. The country breakdown also obscures the fact that only 5 percent of the region’s population had access to Free media in 2012, while 47 percent lived in Partly Free and 48 percent in Not Free media environments. The regional average score improved slightly for the year, as negative movement in the legal category was outweighed by positive change in both the political and economic categories. Asia includes one of the world’s worstrated countries, North Korea, as well as several other restrictive media environments, such as China, Laos, and Vietnam. All of these settings feature extensive state and party control of the press.
Asia includes one of the world’s worstrated countries, North Korea, as well as several other restrictive media environments, such as China, Laos, and Vietnam. All of these settings feature extensive state and party control of the press.
Reporters Without Borders
Only three Asian countries are in the top 25 percent of the table, while 15 countries are among the bottom 45 places. Unsurprisingly, one-party authoritarian governments figure more than ever among the predators of press freedom and languish at the bottom end of the table.
North Korea (178th), China (173rd), Vietnam (172nd) and Laos (168th), all ruled by authoritarian parties, still refuse to grant their citizens the freedom to be informed. The control of news and information is a key issue for these government, which are horrified at the prospect of being open to criticism. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, who succeeded his father Kim Jong-il on 30 December 2011, appears to rule in concert with the military junta.
The Indian subcontinent was the Asian region that saw the sharpest deterioration in the climate for those involved in news and information in 2012. In the Maldives, which crashed to 103rd place (-30), the events that led to the resignation of President Mohammed Nasheed in February led to violence and threats against journalists in state television and private media outlets regarded as pro-Nasheed by the coup leaders.
Bangladesh | Bhutan | Brunei | Burma (Myanmar) | Cambodia | China | East Timor | Fiji | Hong Kong [China] | India | Indonesia | Japan | Kiribati | Laos | Malaysia | Maldives | Marshall Islands | Micronesia | Mongolia | Nauru | Nepal | North Korea | Pakistan | Palau | Papua New Guinea | Philippines | Samoa | Singapore | Solomon Islands | South Korea | Sri Lanka | Taiwan | Thailand | Tonga | Tuvalu | Vanuatu | Vietnam