By Tenzin Sangmo
DHARAMSHALA, April 19: China has been ranked 176 out of 180 countries in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index published on Thursday by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
The report cited a further decline in media climate internationally.
More than three-fourths of the 180 countries and territories studied were dubbed “problematic”, “difficult” or “very serious.” Just 8% have a media climate considered “good.”
The U.S., Venezuela, Brazil, Iran and China saw their rankings drop. The US fell off three spots to 48 with its media climate labelled “problematic” for the first time in the index. India dropped two places to 140.
The number of journalists killed worldwide rose from 65 in 2017 to 80 in 2018. 348 journalists were detained last year.
A separate report on China titled “China’s pursuit of a new world media order” sheds light on the Chinese state’s efforts to achieve a new world media order. The strategies employed include modernizing its international TV broadcasting, buying extensive amounts of advertising in international media, infiltrating foreign media, among others.
"In the spirit of the Beijing regime, journalists are not intended to be a counter-power but rather to serve the propaganda of states,” TIME
reported Secretary General of RSF Christophe Deloire as saying.
In the section “censorship and surveillance: successful exports,” the report said WeChat, the Chinese instant messaging app was ranked at the bottom with a score of 0 out of 100 in an Amnesty International ranking of the consumer messaging apps based on how well they protect online privacy.
“All WeChat messages pass through Tencent’s China-based servers and are thereby accessible to the Chinese authorities.”
Norway bagged the top ranking for the third consecutive year, followed by Finland and Sweden respectively.
“Democracies seem to be giving up, while increasingly authoritarian governments are silencing the media,” the East-Asia Bureau Director of RSF Cédric Alviani reportedly told TIME.