Bhutan continues to improve in press freedom

Published on Feb 21 2011 // Media Monitor

Thimphu: Booking the 64th position, Bhutan has moved six steps up from the previous year in the press freedom index 2010.

Bhutan was ranked 64th out of 176 countries. Finland took the top position which was held by Denmark the previous year. Turkmenistan took the last position.

Among the Saarc countries, Maldives was ranked at 52nd position, Nepal 119th, India 122nd, Bangladesh 126th, Afghanistan 147th, Pakistan 151st and Sri Lanka 158th.

Bhutan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan improved in the press freedom index in 2010 compared to 2009. Meanwhile, Maldives, Nepal, India and Bangladesh dropped.

Bhutan has continuously improved in the press index from 2007 when it ranked 116th out of 169 countries. In 2008, Bhutan was ranked 74th out of 173 countries and in 2009, 70th out of 175 countries.

The press freedom index is compiled by Reporters Sans Frontières’ (Reporters without Borders), an international non-government organization advocating freedom of press in the world.

In 2010, 57 journalists and one media assistant were killed, 151 journalists imprisoned, nine media assistants and 116 netizens imprisoned.

The index was drawn by asking questions that assess the state of press freedom in each country. It includes every kind of violation directly affecting journalist such as murders, imprisonment, physical attacks and threats, news media censorship, confiscation of newspaper issues, searches and harassment. It also measures the level of self-censorship in each country and the ability of the media to investigate and criticise. Financial pressure is also assessed and incorporated.

The questionnaire takes into account the legal framework for the media, including penalties for press offences, the existence of a state monopoly for certain kinds of media and how the media are regulated, and the level of independence of the public media. It also reflects violations of the free flow of information on the internet.

Reporters without Borders have taken account not only of abuses attributable to the state but also by armed militias, clandestine organisations and pressure groups.

The Bhutan Observer