Thailand’s press freedom drops 6 notches to 142nd
published : 27 Apr 2017 at 13:20
writer: Online Reporters
Thailand’s ranking on the World Press Freedom Index for 2017 has dropped another six notches to 142nd in the latest report complied by international non-profit organisation Reporters Without Borders.
In the analysis of 180 countries, Norway had the greatest press freedom, while North Korea at the bottom.
The report said Thailand's score rose to 44.69 points, up by 0.16 points from 44.53 in 2016. The lower the score, the freer the press.
It noted that Thailand is ruled by a military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order.
“Ubiquitous, all-powerful, and led by press freedom predator Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, the council keeps journalists and citizen-journalists under permanent surveillance, often summons them for questioning, and detains them arbitrarily,” the report said.
The report said any criticism of the junta is liable to lead to violent reprisals made possible by draconian legislation and a justice system that follows orders.
It said the already feared Computer-Related Crime Act was reinforced in 2016, giving authorities even more surveillance and censorship powers.
The reported added that the passing of King Rama IX had not curtailed use of lese majeste charges under article 112 of the Criminal Code as a weapon of mass deterrence for journalists, bloggers and online activists.
However, there were no journalists, netizens or media assistants killed in Thailand in 2017 during the period of analysis.
Compared to countries in Southeast Asia, Thailand (142) is in the middle. The rankings of other Asean countries are - Indonesia (124), Philippines (127), Myanmar (131), Cambodia (132), Malaysia (144), Singapore (151), Brunei (156), Laos (170) and Vietnam (175).
The organisation said that its qualitative analysis is combined with quantitative data on abuses and acts of violence against journalists during the period evaluated.
The criteria evaluated in the questionnaire are pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, and the quality of the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information.
In the global perspective, the World Press Freedom map is getting darker and the situation had worsened in nearly two thirds (62.2%) of the 180 countries in the index.
The colour categories are assigned as follows: good (white), fairly good (yellow), problematic (orange), bad (red) and very bad (black).