Taiwan Ranks Highest in Asia for Press Freedom – Hong Kong Drops Four Spots

According to the latest rankings of international press freedom by watchdog group Reporters Without Borders Taiwan scores highest in Asia for freedom of the press, while Hong Kong’s press freedom ranking dropped by four places in this year’s global index.

The 2017 ranking table looks at 180 countries and regions has Taiwan rising six places to 45th globally, while Hong Kong came in at 73, with China ranked at 176.

Reporters Without Borders recently opened its first Asia office in Taiwan. This after choosing not to have an office in Hong Kong over concerns that China poses the “biggest threat” to press freedom.


According to RWB, a Taiwan office would be better suited to focus on Hong Kong’s fight for press freedom against the ruling arm of Beijing.

“In Hong Kong, we might be under surveillance, we might have pressure on the staff,” said Cedric Alviani, director of the Taipei Bureau in a report with the Hong Kong Free Press.


“Nobody is 100 percent safe… But for our central office that is covering seven countries… it wouldn’t be a safe choice to have chosen Hong Kong.”

Here are some highlights from Asia:

  • Taiwan – 45th South Korea – 64rd (up from 70 in 2016)
  • Japan – 72nd (the same rank as in 2016)
  • Hong Kong – 73rd (up from 69 in 2016)
  • Indonesia – 124th (up from 130 in 2016)
  • The Philippines – 127th (up from 138 in 2016)
  • Burma – 131st (up from 143 in 2016)
  • India 136th (up from 133rd in 2016)
  • Thailand – 136th (up from 142 in 2016)
  • Pakistan 139th (up from 147th in 2016)
  • Malaysia – 144th (up from 146 in 2016)
  • Bangladesh 146th (up from 144th in 2016)

It was also noted that there were changes in the editorial policies of some outlets like the English-language South China Morning Post, which was acquired by China’s Alibaba. There are reports by Hong Kong citizens saying that their comments online have been censored by new management policies at the Morning Post.

Of note in Asia-Pacific is China (176th) and Vietnam (175th) both who rank highest for jailing journalists and bloggers.

The report also named Asia as having the biggest number of “press freedom predators” at the head of the world’s worst dictatorships, including China, North Korea (180th), and Laos (170th), which are news and information “black holes.”

“A lot of countries, they actually are free on paper, but the government authorities, the police put so much surveillance and pressure on media they cannot do their work freely,” said regional director Cedric Alviani.

You can read the entire report here.

The Staff

The Staff

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