Singapore falls to dismal 153rd in press freedom list

roy-ngerng-lee-hsien-loong

(Yahoo) In terms of press freedom, Singapore ranks 153 out of 180 countries in the world, just below Russia, according to Paris-based watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

In the group’s 2015 World Press Freedom Index released on Thursday, the city-state is three notches down last year’s 150th place, the worst showing since the index began in 2002.

Reporters Without Borders did not specifically explain why Singapore dropped in the ranking, but last year it cited Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s defamation case against blogger Roy Ngerng.

In a statement after the defamation suit was launched, Reporters Without Borders said it “considers Ngerng to be the latest victim of a particular legal device known as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP). It is designed in the first place to deny the blogger the ability to publish or the chance to defend himself”.

Lee has since won the case and Ngerng made the full payment of S$29,000 for total cost of court proceedings last week.

Regarding the 2015 press freedom index, Reporters Without Borders said the results reflect a “drastic decline” in media freedom in the world last year.

Over half of the 180 countries that the index surveyed had a drop in performance compared to the previous years.

The countries that top the list are Finland, Norway and Denmark. Finland has been first in the index for five years in a row.

In contrast, the last three places were taken by Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea.

United States stands at the 49th place, down by three places in 2014; Japan is at 61, down by two places; while Malaysia is ranked 147th.

Hong Kong, after their recent Occupy Central protests, dropped nine places to the 70th position.

Here is the ranking, from best to worst:

1. Finland

2. Norway

3. Denmark

4. Netherlands

5. Sweden

6. New Zealand

7. Austria

8. Canada

9. Jamaica

10. Estonia

11. Ireland

12. Germany

13. Czech Republic

14. Slovakia

15. Belgium

16. Costa Rica

17. Namibia

18. Poland

19. Luxembourg

20. Switzerland

21. Iceland

22. Ghana

23. Uruguay

24. Cyprus

25. Australia

26. Portugal

27. Liechtenstein

28. Latvia

29. Suriname

30. Belize

31. Lithuania

32. Andorra

33. Spain

34. United Kingdom

35. Slovenia

36. Cape Verde

37. Organization of Eastern Caribbean States

38. France

39. South Africa

40. Samoa

41. Trinidad and Tobago

42. Botswana

43. Chile

44. Tonga

45. El Salvador

46. Burkina Faso

47. Niger

48. Malta

49. United States

50. Comoros

51. Taiwan

52. Romania

53. Haiti

54. Mongolia

55. Mauritania

56. Papua New Guinea

57. Argentina

58. Croatia

59. Malawi

60. South Korea

61. Japan

62. Guyana

63. Dominican Republic

64. Madagascar

65. Hungary

66. Bosnia and Herzegovina

67. Serbia

68. Mauritius

69. Georgia

70. Hong Kong

71. Senegal

72. Moldova

73. Italy

74. Nicaragua

75. Tanzania

76. Northern Cyprus

77. Lesotho

78. Armenia

79. Sierra Leone

80. Togo

81. Guinea-Bissau

82. Albania

83. Panama

84. Benin

85. Mozambique

86. Ivory Coast

87. Kosovo

88. Kyrgyzstan

89. Liberia

90. Kuwait

91. Greece

92. Peru

93. Fiji

94. Bolivia

95. Gabon

96. Seychelles

97. Uganda

98. Lebanon

99. Brazil

100. Kenya

101. Israel

102. Guinea

103. East Timor

104. Bhutan

105. Nepal

106. Bulgaria

107. Republic of the Congo

108. Ecuador

109. Paraguay

110. Central African Republic

111. Nigeria

112. Maldives

113. Zambia

114. Montenegro

115. Qatar

116. Tajikistan

117. Macedonia

118. Mali

119. Algeria

120. United Arab Emirates

121. Brunei

122. Afghanistan

123. Angola

124. Guatemala

125. South Sudan

126. Tunisia

127. Oman

128. Colombia

129. Ukraine

130. Morocco

131. Zimbabwe

132. Honduras

133. Cameroon

134. Thailand

135. Chad

136. India

137. Venezuela

138. Indonesia

139. Cambodia

140. Palestinian Territories

141. Philippines

142. Ethiopia

143. Jordan

144. Myanmar

145. Burundi

146. Bangladesh

147. Malaysia

148. Mexico

149. Turkey

150. Democratic Republic of Congo

151. Gambia

152. Russia

153. Singapore

154. Libya

155. Swaziland

156. Iraq

157. Belarus

158. Egypt

159. Pakistan

160. Kazakhstan

161. Rwanda

162. Azerbaijan

163. Bahrain

164. Saudi Arabia

165. Sri Lanka

166. Uzbekistan

167. Equatorial Guinea

168. Yemen

169. Cuba

170. Djibouti

171. Laos

172. Somalia

173. Iran

174. Sudan

175. Vietnam

176. China

177. Syria

178. Turkmenistan

179. North Korea

180. Eritrea

(Source: Reporters Without Borders 2015 World Press Freedom Index; country/territory names have been altered in some cases in line with AFP style)

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