Singapore’s free and independent media rating has gone up by one point in the past year. This was indicated in a report from United States’ NGO Freedom House, which publishes a report measuring civil liberties and political rights across the world every year.
However, while there have been gains concerning freedom in the media, the nation’s overall assessment is that it is still only “partly free,” according to the organization, which evaluated 14 territories and 195 countries for 2017.
And, while Freedom House calls itself “an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world,” the organization still receives the bulk of its funding from the federal government of the United States.
In its rating for Political Rights, Singapore received a score of 19/40. For Civil Liberties, the country’s score is now 33/60, one point higher than in the previous study. Singapore’s rating went up from 51/100 to 52/100.
Overall, Freedom House gave the city-state a 4/7 for all categories of Freedom Rating, Political Rights and Civil Liberties, with 1 being the most free and 7 being the least free.
The nation’s freedom status: “Partly Free.”
However, one of the areas where the country has seen gains is concerning “Free and Independent Media.” Whereas in the past, the country got a 1 out of 4, now Singapore’s score is 2 out of 4.
The study credits alternative sources for the gains. While most traditional media is still owned by companies connected to the government, and there are still restrictions on freedom of speech, according to the study,
“However, foreign media and a growing array of online domestic outlets—including news sites and blogs—are widely consumed and offer alternative views, frequently publishing articles that are critical of the government or supportive of independent activism.”
Hence, the one-point gain, which is explained in the study this way, “Score Change: The score improved from 1 to 2 due to the growing prevalence and importance of alternative media, including international services and domestic online outlets, that cover a wide range of perspectives.”