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Myanmar, Cambodia See further declines in press freedom: bulletin
In spite of the two-year reign of a reformist National League for Democracy, Myanmar, a South East Asian nation, continued to record a decline in freedom of the written word, with a decline of six points over last year in an annual poll published by the RSF (Reporters Without Borders) on Wednesday.
This year Cambodia fell by 10 places to 142 in the RSF list of 180 nations, while China and Vietnam, with 176 and 175 in the list, remain on the ground, unaltered compared to the previous year, according to the group's World Press Freedom Index 2018. Laos were also flat at 170 and North Korea at 180, with ranks near or at the bottom of the poll.
Myanmar, formerly militarily governed, "the Aung San Suu Kyi-led regime has given up all plausibility in its commitment to defending the place of the mass media in a working democracy," RSF said in its statement. Myanmar, after falling four points from 128 to 131 in last year's reports, which mentioned widespread self-censorship in coverage of its governments and mighty army, saw further infringements of this year' s free newspapers, leading to a decline to 137, the Right Group said.
Cambodia's steps against Prime Minister Hun Sen's freedom of the written media, which included the closure of more than 30 independents, led to a 10 point decline in the country's rankings from 132 to 142, RSF said in its statement. China's methodologies have become a pattern of state-controlled intelligence and information that is progressively imitated not only in Cambodia but also in Vietnam, which ranks 175 points ahead of China in the RSF index.
"Vietnam's old-fashioned mass communication is fully under control, but citizens' writers are defending the liberty to provide information with great boldness - and the government's reaction has been merciless," the right-wing group says. "Previously loggers were condemned to two years in detention, but now those who are blogging on prohibited topics such as bribery or ecological disaster can count on 15 years in prison," the RSF reports.