TAIPEI: Taiwan was rated the top Asian nation for the fourth straight year in the latest World Press Freedom Index released last week by France-based Reporters without Borders (RSF).
In the survey of 180 countries and territories, Taiwan finished 51st, outperforming South Korea, 60th; Japan, 61st; Hong Kong, 70th; Singapore, 153rd; and mainland China, 176th. Finland, Norway and Denmark topped the list in that order. The Philippines was ranked at 149.
On a scale of zero to 100, with zero the best possible result, Taiwan scored 24.83. This placed it among 31 economies deemed to have “satisfactory” levels of press freedom.
According to RSF, growing threats from non-state operatives, violence during demonstrations and the economic crisis saw media freedom decline on all fronts, with two-thirds of the list performing worse than the year before.
The index highlights the worldwide deterioration in freedom of information in 2014, the report said, citing criminalization of blasphemy, information and news control as well as terrorism as some of the key contributors to the negative trend.
First launched in 2002, the index is compiled with questionnaires sent to correspondents, human rights defenders, journalists, jurists and researchers around the globe. It assesses a country’s performance based on the criteria of abuses, environment and self-censorship, infrastructure, legislative framework, media independence, pluralism and transparency.