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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sg Press Freedom

Singapore ranks 150th in 2012 Freedom of the Press World Ranking

In the 2012 Freedom of the Press report published by Freedom House last month (May), Singapore ranks 150th position globally [Link]. The ranking remains unchanged for Singapore from last year’s ranking. The report classified Singapore’s level of press freedom as “Not Free”.

Taiwan, which was under martial law for many decades, has already loosened up its press control and is now ranked 47th.

Neighbouring 3rd world countries like Indonesia (97th) and Malaysia (144th), are all ahead of Singapore.

Even the newly independent East Timor, which became a sovereign state in 2002, is ranked 75th, also ahead of Singapore.

And some of the 3rd world African countries are seen to have more press freedom than Singapore:

Tanzania 97th
Kenya 111th
Senegal 117th
Zambia 132nd
Central African Republic 139th

Singapore currently shares the same ranking with Angola and Qatar at 150th position.

Freedom of the Press is a yearly report by US-based non-governmental organization Freedom House, measuring the level of freedom and editorial independence enjoyed by the press in nearly every countries around the world. Levels of freedom are scored on a scale from 1 (most free) to 100 (least free). Depending on the ratings, the nations are then classified as “Free”, “Partly Free”, or “Not Free”. Freedom House conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights.

The near-bottom ranking of the level of press freedom in Singapore should not come as a surprise to all. According to a WikiLeaks document [Link], the editors of the mainstream media in Singapore are handpicked by the State and groomed to tow the official line.

In the document, it was revealed that an ST Bureau Chief in U.S. had previously told a member of American Embassy in Singapore that ST editors have all been groomed as pro-government supporters and are careful to ensure that reporting of local events adheres closely to the official line. He observed that none of the editors has the courage to publish any stories critical of the government.

He also revealed that the government exerts significant pressure on ST editors to ensure that published articles follow the government’s line. For example, ministers routinely call ST editors to ensure that media coverage of an issue comes out the way they want it. He said that no editors have been fired or otherwise punished for printing articles critical of the government because all of them have already been vetted to ensure their pro-government leanings. The ST Bureau Chief even conceded that he would likely never advance higher up the ladder at ST due to the ‘expectations’ placed on editors.

Such is the pathetic situation of the mainstream media in Singapore, a first world country supposedly.

For Link to List of rankings:

Singapore’s press freedom index drops 14 positions to 149th

Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières, or RSF) has just released its annual press freedom ranking – “World Press Freedom Index 2013″ last month [Link].

Singapore’s ranking dropped 14 positions from 135th last year to current 149th. It appears that Singapore’s ranking has been getting worse over the years:

2009 – 133rd
2010 – 136th
2011/12 – 135th
2013 – 149th

At 149th, Singapore’s ranking is even worse than countries like Cambodia (143rd), Congo (142nd), Ethiopia (137th), Zimbabwe (133rd), Libya (131st), Angola (130th), Algeria (125th).

Singapore is only slightly better than Myanmar (151st). And of course, compare to China (173rd) where new citizen Li Yeming came from, Singapore is a lot better.

The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by RSF based upon the organization’s assessment of the countries’ press freedom records in the previous year. It reflects the degree of freedom that journalists, news organizations, and citizens enjoy in each country, and the efforts made by the authorities to respect and ensure respect for this freedom. The index only deals with press freedom and does not measure the quality of journalism nor does it look at human rights violations in general.

RSF is a French-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press and freedom of information. This organization, which has consultant status at the United Nations was founded in 1985.


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