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India ahead of neighbours in press freedom index
May 04, 2006 16:18 IST
India has fared better than its neighbours in South Asia as well as the United States in the annual press freedom index prepared by an international media watchdog.
The index released on Wednesday night by the Paris-based 'Reporters Without Borders' placed India in the press freedom scale at the 106th position while its neighbour Pakistan was ranked 150 and the United States was at 137.
India's other neighbours were also low down the order in the index which rated 167 countries, with Sri Lanka placed at 115, Afghansistan at 125, China 159 and Nepal 160.
While Denmark retained its 'numero uno' position, North Korea was adjudged the country with least press freedom.
Calling them the "black holes" for news, the watchdog said half the countries in the bottom 10 of the index were from Asia -- Vietnam (158), China (159), Nepal (160), Myanmar (163), Iran (164) and North Korea (167).
The report said in Nepal both King Gyanendra and the Maoists cracked down on newspapers while in China, despite some media privatisation, the government propaganda department monitors the media.
It said no improvement was seen in Myanmar where even death announcement columns were monitored and the replacement of some of the ruling generals did not benefit the much awaited release of pro-opposition journalists there.
The "independent" press in Afghanistan, which has played a key role in the campaign for the elections, was frequently targeted and attacked, the report said.