KATHMANDU, April 26: Nepal ranks second in South Asian countries in World Press Freedom Index of year 2018. The World Press Freedom Index ranks as many as 180 countries on indicators such as media independence, self-censorship, the rule of law, transparency and abuses.
This year’s report ranks Nepal 106th with a score of 32.05 points, followed by Bhutan, which is ranked 94th in the world with a score of 30.73. Nepal was ranked in the 100th in 2017 where Bhutan maintain its place.
The index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reflects covering political demonstrations and elections in Nepal by journalists is still unsafe.
Many reporters were the targets of intimidation or violence during clashes between protesters and police in the course of several months of demonstrations in the southern Terai lowlands, which fuelled political instability as well as physical threats to journalists and media.
In 2017, the first local, provincial and parliamentary elections in 20 years were marked by many violations of the press freedom.
Many journalists were arrested without a warrant and some were tortured in detention. Others were the victims of physical violence by party activists and politicians.
Some reporters were denied access to voting stations. In this light, the new government needs to take steps to ensure full respect for the “full freedom of the press” enshrined in the preamble of Nepal’s 2015 constitution.
Among the other South Asian countries, India is ranked 138th with a score of 43.24, Afghanistan 118th (37.28), Pakistan 139th (43.24), Sri Lanka 131st (41.37), Maldives 120th (37.95), and Bangladesh 146th (46.4).62.
Norway tops the index scoring 7.63, Sweden in second scoring 8.31 and Netherland in third scoring 10.01. The USA in 45th place with 23.73 and US in 40th place scoring 23.25 points.
Among the lowest ranked countries were North Korea at 180th, Eritrea at 179th (84.24), Turkmenistan 178th (84.20) Syria 177th place (79.22), just below China 176th (78.29).