Malaysia's freefall in press freedom index - here's why it matters

Martin Vengadesan

Modified 4 May 2021, 1:51 am

As with principles of judicial independence and secularism (separation of religion from the government), press freedom is not one of those ideals likely to stir the emotions of the masses, and yet it is absolutely a cornerstone of a truly free society.

That’s why it should be ringing alarm bells that Malaysia has fallen 18 rungs on Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) annual press freedom index to a ranking of 119, sandwiched between the Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

RSF said that Malaysia’s press freedom situation improved dramatically after the 2018 elections, but things have gone in reverse since Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin took over, culminating in the recent “anti-fake news” emergency decree allowing the government to “impose its own version of the truth...”

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