Thailand was ranked the 136th place in press freedom among 180 countries surveyed by the Paris-based "Reporters Without Borders", a press freedom advocating organisation.
The 2016 World Press Freedom Index released this week by Reporters Without Borders, the ranking this year made Thailand’s press freedom even poorer than its ASEAN neighbours Cambodia and Indonesia which were ranked 128th and 130th respectively.
Cambodia’s ranking improved 11 places while Indonesia 8 places from 2015.
For Thailand, Reporters Without Borders attributed its downgrade on Thai press freedom to the military junta’s
exercises of permanent control over journalists and citizen-journalists as reasons.
It said ” Uiquitous and all-powerful, the NCPO summons them for questioning and detains them arbitrarily. Its leader, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, is given to frequent verbal attacks and even death threats against journalists. He is a new predator of information.”
It gave Thailand 44.53 points on global scores from last year’s 40.07.
The worst performer this year is Brunei of which ranking dropped 34 places to 155th.
The World Press Freedom Index unveiled this week is indicative of a climate of fear and tension combined with increasing control over newsrooms by governments and private-sector interests.
It reflects the intensity of the attacks on journalistic freedom and independence by governments, ideologies and private-sector interests during the past year.
Seen as a benchmark throughout the world, the Index ranks 180 countries according to the freedom allowed journalists. It also includes indicators of the level of media freedom violations in each region. These show that Europe (with 19.8 points) still has the freest media, followed distantly by Africa (36.9), which for the first time overtook the Americas (37.1), a region where violence against journalists is on the rise. Asia (43.8) and Eastern Europe/Central Asia (48.4) follow, while North Africa/Middle East (50.8) is still the region where journalists are most subjected to constraints of every kind.
Here are the rankings of other ASEAN nations;
Country Ranking Change
Laos 173 (-2)
Myanmar 143 (+1)
Philippines 138 (+3)
Singapore 154 (-1)
Malaysia 146 (+1)
Vietnam 175 no change