International media watchdog Reporters Without Borders says East Asia is the part of the world with poorest press freedoms in the world. Publishing its 2005 World Press Freedom Index, the organisation lists North Korea as the very worst in the world, bottom of the list of 167 countries, reports BBC.
The report brands North Korea, Eritrea and Turkmenistan as the world's "black holes" for news and says that rigid political leaders have blocked progress in most Asian countries.
"Journalists there (in North Korea, Eritrea and Turkmenistan) simply relay government propaganda. Anyone out of step is harshly dealt with. A word too many, a commentary that deviates from the official line or a wrongly spelled name and the author may be thrown in prison or draw the wrath of those in power. Harassment, psychological pressure, intimidation and round-the-clock surveillance are routine," the report says.
According to OhmyNews International, the report says that Asia is still the toughest continent for journalists. Half of the countries in the bottom 10 are from Asia.
Denmark has been ranked as the country with the highest press freedom in the world.
The top 10 countries are as follow:
1. Denmark 2. Finland 3. Iceland 4. Ireland 5. Netherlands 6. Norway 7. Switzerland 8. Slovakia 9. Czech Republic 10. Slovenia
The countries with the poorest press freedom are:
158. Vietnam 159. China 160. Nepal 161. Cuba 162. Libya 163. Burma 164. Iran 165. Turkmenistan 166. Eritrea 167. North Korea
US President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Qadimi signed an agreement on July 26 to formally end the USA's military presence in the country by the end of the year