Thailand’s press freedom ranking for 2018 improved two spots to 140 out of 180 countries compared to last year’s 142nd ranking, according to World Press Freedom Index released on Wednesday (April 25).Thailand this year scored 44.31 points – 0.38 point higher than last year in the World Press Freedom Index 2018 launched by Reporters without Borders (RWB).
The RWB described Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as “a press freedom predator”. They said the military government keeps journalists and citizen-journalists under permanent surveillance, often summons them for questioning and detains them arbitrarily.
“Any criticism of the junta is liable to lead to violent reprisals made possible by draconian legislation and a justice system that follows orders. The already-feared Computer-related Crime Act was reinforced in 2016 giving the authorities even more surveillance and censorship powers, they said.
Among the Asean countries, Thailand ranks 4th place after Indonesia (124th ranking), the Philippines (133rd ranking) and Myanmar (137th ranking).
Reporters without Borders said the atmosphere and hostility toward journalists and the increased attempt to control the media is threatening democracy.
The top ten countries with the best press freedom are: Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Jamaica, Belgium, New Zealand, Denmark and Costa Rica.
The ten worst countries are: North Korea, Eritrea, Turkmenstan, Syria, China, Vietnam, Sudan, Djibouti, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea and Laos.