Singapore has moved up 3 places in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). It is now ranked at 151. Singapore is not in the RSF’s black zone, but is ranked near third world countries like Ethiopia, Swaziland and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Index unveiled woes and ills that are obstacles to media freedom throughout the world. It reflects a world in which attacks on the media have become commonplace and strongmen are on the rise.
RSF said “we have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda, and suppression of freedoms.” It described Singapore’s government as being ‘intolerant’ and charged that the media here practised ‘self censorship’.
The government of Singapore has always poo-pooed such international press freedom rankings and said that Singapore had to balance freedoms with rule of law. Speaking to regional newspaper editors in 2014, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that he does not take such rankings seriously.
A U.S. immigration judge however, considered the Freedom House and the World Press Freedom Index rankings of Singapore in arriving at his decision to grant asylum to teen blogger Amos Yee.