Paris--Taiwan's global press freedom ranking improved this year, moving up six notches from 2016 to 45th, the best performance by any Asian country, according to the Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2017 released on Wednesday by the Paris-based Reporters without Borders (RSF).
Taiwan's ranking is better than South Korea's, which was 63rd, up seven places from last year; Japan, which remained at 72nd; and Hong Kong, which fell four places to 73rd this year.
Norway placed first in the index, which measures the level of press freedom in 180 countries, and was followed by Sweden and Finland. The other countries rounding out the top 10 are Denmark, Netherlands, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Jamaica, Belgium, and Iceland.
The United States dropped two spots from a year earlier to 43rd. The five countries at the bottom of the list are China, Syria, Turkmenistan, Eritrea and North Korea, in that order.
Although Europe enjoys the greatest degree of press freedom in the world, the score of the region as a whole fell over the past year, according to the press freedom report.
Published annually by RSF since 2002, the World Press Freedom Index is based on an evaluation of media freedom that measures pluralism, media independence, quality of legal framework and safety of journalists in 180 countries, according to the global press freedom watchdog.
This year, although the press freedom report did not focus on Taiwan, the RSF announced earlier this month the opening of its first Asia bureau in Taipei.
According to RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire, Taiwan was chosen not only because of its central geographic location but also in recognition of its top ranking place among Asian countries on the annual press freedom index.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel