Brunei drops to 155th of 180 on World Press Freedom Index

National 1 minute, 35 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEI has dropped 34 places in the annual Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index to rank 155th out of 180 countries in 2016, its lowest ranking since 2009.

The rankings, released on Wednesday, showed that Brunei scored 53.95 points out of 100 (with 100 being the worst possible result) which is down 17.09 points from last year’s 36.76.

Among all countries on the index, Brunei and Tajikistan recorded the biggest decline, with both dropping 34 places.

Brunei also lost its crown as ASEAN’s best performing country in the index, placing third-worst out of the 10 countries in the regional bloc, with only Laos and Vietnam ranked below the sultanate at 173rd and 175th, respectively.

A statement from Reporters Without Borders said that the 2016 index showed there has been a deep decline globally in respect for media freedom at both the global and regional levels.

“The 2016 World Press Freedom Index reflects the intensity of the attacks on journalistic freedom and independence by authorities, ideologies and private-sector interests during the past year,” it said.

“The climate of fear results in a growing aversion to debate and pluralism, a clampdown on the media and reporting in the privately-owned media that is increasingly shaped by personal interests,” it said.

Timor-Leste was the only country from Southeast Asia to rank inside the Top 100 at 99th place, up four places from last year.

Finland retained its position at the top of the index for the eighth year in a row, followed by the Netherlands and Norway while Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea remain unmoved from last year in the bottom three.

As posted on the Reporters Without Borders’ website, the index is determined by compiling responses from questionnaires sent to media professionals, lawyers and sociologists around the world.

The questionnaire covers a range of criteria including pluralism, media independence, transparency, legal framework, the environment that the media operates in and the level of abuses against journalists.

The Brunei Times