China retained a tight grip on local media and tried to control more independent views from bloggers and foreign news sources in 2013, human rights group Freedom House said Thursday.
The group rated the mainland Not Free in terms of media, saying the authorities continued to crack down on online speech, particularly on microblogs, and also increased pressure on foreign journalists.
Press freedom deteriorated in Hong Kong, which was rated Partly Free on par with Mali, Serbia and Mongolia. In the Asia-Pacific region, only 5 percent of the population had access to Free media in 2013.
“In 2013 we saw more cases of states targeting foreign reporters and media outlets,” Freedom House’s Karin Karlekar said. “Russian and Chinese authorities declined to renew or threatened to withhold visas for prominent foreign correspondents.”
The organization said global press freedom is at its lowest level in over a decade, and despite positive developments in some countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, setbacks dominated in every other region.
Of the 197 countries and territories assessed during 2013, a total of 63 (32 percent) were rated Free, 68 (35 percent) were rated Partly Free, and 66 (33 percent) were rated Not Free.
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