Philippines inches up in World Press Freedom Index
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines inched up in the latest World Press Freedom Index, as press freedom globally deteriorated, advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontieres, RSF) said Wednesday, April 20.
The Philippines ranked 138th out of 180 countries in the survey, which ranks nations on indicators such as media independence, self-censorship, rule of law, transparency, and abuses.
This is up 3 places compared to the country's 2015 rank of 141.
Despite an improvement in the ranking, RSF said the overall score of the country declined in the 2016 index – from 41.19 to 44.66 this year. Based on RSF methodology, a higher score means the risk for journalists in that country is higher.
This, the media watchdog group said, reveals "the limits of the reforms and measures taken to improve media freedom and safety."
This year's index saw a decline in all parts of the world, Christophe Deloire, secretary general of the Paris-based group told Agence France-Presse, with Latin America of particular concern.
"All of the indicators show a deterioration. Numerous authorities are trying to regain control of their countries, fearing overly open public debate," he said.
"Today, it is increasingly easy for powers to appeal directly to the public through new technologies, and so there is a greater degree of violence against those who represent independent information," he added.
"We are entering a new era of propaganda where new technologies allow the low-cost dissemination of their own communication, their information, as dictated. On the other side, journalists are the ones who get in the way."
The situation was particularly grave in Latin America, the report said, highlighting "institutional violence" in Venezuela and Ecuador, organised crime in Honduras, impunity in Colombia, corruption in Brazil and media concentration in Argentina as the main obstacles to press freedom.
Among the lowest ranked countries were Syria, at 177th place out of 180, just below China (176th) but above North Korea (179th) and last placed Eritrea.
Japan slumped to 72nd due to what the watchdog identified as self-censorship towards Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, while Finland retained its top spot for the sixth consecutive year, followed by the Netherlands and Norway. – With reports from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com