Hong Kong has dropped nine places on the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index. Since last year, the city has dropped from 61st to 70th place in a ranking of 180 countries.
The index “ranks the performance of 180 countries according to a range of criteria that include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate.” In 2002, Hong Kong ranked 18th of 134 countries.
The media watchdog noted instances of censorship and self-censorship, violence and intimidation of journalists, police misconduct and increasing Chinese influence in the city over the past year. It said that 2014 saw the “gravest threats to press freedom since Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997″.
The top ten countries:
4. The Netherlands
6. New Zealand
— Tom Grundy (@tomgrundy) February 12, 2015
Under the leadership of CY Leung, the city’s press freedom ranking has continued to dive in global indices. It is rated as “party free” by Freedom House with a press freedom score of 37 out of 100. It 2008, Hong Kong was classified as “free”. Today’s news comes weeks after a similar report by PEN American Centre warned of the erosion of free speech and the rise of self-censorship in the city.