Thailand’s Media Freedom Slips to Lowest in Decade

 | Fri 2 May 2014 10:28 ICT

CityNews – Freedom House has released the findings of their latest report, revealing how global press freedom has fallen to its lowest point in just under a decade. The report showed that the state of worldwide media freedom had declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2013, with significant setbacks to democratic rights in potentially influential countries: Egypt, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Venezuela and Thailand.

The report found that more countries showed overall declines in political rights and civil liberties (54 in total) compared to countries that showed gains in these areas (40 in total). Freedom House lists Thailand as “Partly Free” in terms of press censorship and gave the country its worst score of the past decade.

The low score is mainly due to “increased physical harassment and attacks against journalists and media outlets by political activists”, often related to the political unrest and demonstrations. A number of widespread media sources are considered to produce biased content that further inflame political tensions. The watchdog also cites the government’s online censorship, on top of the heavy-handed enforcement of lèse-majesté laws, as a continuing suppression of free expression in the country.

Freedom House mentioned that Thailand’s reports of the protests had been restricted and that criminal acts by demonstrators and other political players had not been sufficiently covered by the media.

The highest ranked countries in terms of press freedom were Netherlands, Norway and Sweden while the bottom three were North Korea, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Today, only one of seven people in the world has access to a “free” media.

Check out the World Map of Freedom (press ctrl and scroll with your mouse to zoom in) and read theFreedom in The World Report 2014.