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Philippines among worst-ranked countries in press freedom index

SEVEN Asian countries, including the Philippines, are in the bottom 20 of the fifth annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index released by the international press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

RSF Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2006The Philippines is among the worst-ranked countries for 2006 at 142nd place (in a tie with the Democratic Republic of Congo out of 168 countries surveyed), further slipping three places with the continuing murders of journalists and increased legal harassment in the form of libel suits, including those filed by First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, husband of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The country is now in the ignominious company of Bangladesh (137), Singapore (146), Vietnam (155), Laos (156), Pakistan (157) and Burma (164). (Download the Asia Index.)

Since it was introduced in 2002 to provide a worldwide index of countries according to their respect for press freedom, the RSF Index has documented the deterioration of press freedom in the Philippines under Arroyo’s rule, with the country sliding down the rankings from 89th in 2002 to 118th in 2003. Though it improved to 111th in 2004, the country endured a sharp decline to 139th in 2005.

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October 24, 2006 Posted by | Free Expression in Asia | 9 Comments