KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 – Malaysia showed major improvement after leaping 22 spots to 101st place in the annual 2020 World Press Freedom index by non-profit group Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
In the 2020 index, Malaysia also outranked its regional peers in ASEAN including Indonesia (119), the Philippines (136), Myanmar (139), Thailand (140), Cambodia (144), Brunei (152), Singapore (158), Laos (172) and Vietnam (175).
According to RSF, Malaysia’s score dropped by 3.62 points to 33.12 in 2020, with the lower score indicating greater freedom of the press.
In the country profile for Malaysia, RSF described the country’s press freedom as receiving a breath of ‘fresh air’ after a surprising first-ever defeat of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s ruling coalition in the May 2018 general elections.
It noted that blacklisted news sites like Sarawak Report have been able to resume working without fear of harassment. Malaysia landed at 123rd spot with a score of 36.74 in last year’s index.
In the 2020 World Press Freedom, the top 10 countries with the best ranking for press freedom are Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Switzerland, New Zealand and Portugal.