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Press-Freedom-Index-2015-rsfParis, France: - China ranked 176th out of 180 countries in the 2015 World Press Freedom Index, released Thursday (Feb 12) by the international organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

The results all around aren't looking great. The group said that press freedom suffered a "drastic decline" worldwide last year.

"Two-thirds of the 180 countries surveyed for the 2015 World Press Freedom Index performed less well than in the previous year," the France-based watchdog said.

RSF attributed the decline largely to attacks on media as global conflicts proliferated throughout 2014. This includes not only repressive regimes, but also non-state groups such as Boko Haram and Islamic State, which "used fear and reprisals to silence journalists".

The communist regime is trying by any means it can to keep Tibet in a state of isolation from the international media. Since 2012, the Chinese authorities in Tibet step up surveillance of all means of communication, particularly mobile phones and the Internet, in order to "maintain the public's interests and national security".

The blackout imposed by Chinese authorities on Tibet, preventing all media coverage of peaceful protest movements there. Not only are foreign media organizations prevented from covering these events, but the regime has also organized a veritable disinformation campaign, using pro-government media such as the Global Times, which play down the disturbances and accuse the international community of interfering.

Few selected media outlets are able to obtain first-hand information and fewer still manage to travel to the region concerned. Out of sight of the world, a major crisis is unfolding. Even North Korea has an international media presence, which is not the case in Tibet.

In 2013, China said, it aims to stamp out the voice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to prevent Tibetans listening to or watching programmes broadcast from outside the country, or accessing any information about the spiritual leader and the exiled Tibetan government on the internet.

The report said that "the 2015 World Press Freedom Index highlights the worldwide deterioration in freedom of information in 2014. Beset by wars, the growing threat from non-state operatives, violence during demonstrations and the economic crisis, media freedom is in retreat on all five continents."

Iran, China, Syria and North Korea were among the places ranked as having the worst levels of press freedom. China came in 176th, one step down from last year.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan ranked 61st place, Hong Kong ranked 70th and Taiwan 51st. Hong Kong dropped nine places from last year in the wake of the pro-democracy movement that gained huge momentum over the past few months of 2014. Around the world, France ranked 38th (up one place) the US 49th (down three places) and Russia 152nd (down four).

Here's a list of the top 10 countries/territories from RSF's latest report...

1. Finland
2. Norway
3. Denmark
4. Netherlands
5. Sweden
6. New Zealand
7. Austria
8. Canada
9. Jamaica
10. Estonia

And the bottom 10 on the list:

170. Djibouti
171. Laos
172. Somalia
173. Iran
174. Sudan
175. Vietnam
176. China
177. Syria
178. Turkmenistan
179. North Korea
180. Eritrea

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com