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Press Freedom

Press Freedom

Since the AJF’s inception in 2018 and amid the Covid-19 crisis, there have been significant changes to press freedom in the Asia–Pacific region. To track this and ensure a comprehensive understanding of the regional challenges facing democracy that involve press freedom, AJF has created a data visualisation so organisations, governments, journalists and the general public can track the status of these issues during that time frame and see how they’ve evolved during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This project will, in turn, aid the development of solutions to support press freedom and democracy.

The AJF’s aim in developing this data-visualisation is for it to be of use in the following ways:

  • as an overview and ongoing monitor of press freedom in the region;
  • as a means for the public and interested parties to easily access updates on press freedom within countries in the region; and
  • as a resource organisations can use to develop strategy to deal with crises and the impacts they have on press freedom.

The AJF seeks to work diplomatically with countries in the region, so this map aims to be as un-biased as possible in its recording of press freedom incidents. We do not rank or grade countries, but instead provide concise record of instances that have hampered journalists’ abilities to carry out their work. As this map develops, AJF also hopes to include instances where press freedom has been supported in the region.

Please note: the map currently tracks twenty four countries, as this has been in line with our capacity. Thanks to our Project Partners, Facebook Journalism Project, we have been able to expand into the Pacific. Stay tuned in the months ahead as this map continues to expand.

Please be patient while our technology loads the region’s recent data. This technology was developed pro-bono by Qlik.

PFT Definitions Key

Incident types

Court & imprisonment
Any incidents which led to court proceedings or imprisonment.
Government & regulatory
Any incidents of government action, such as the introduction of policies, bills or laws, that result in the stifling of press freedom.
Physical attack
Any incidents with the intention of causing bodily harm.
Police action
Any incidents of police action including searches, arrests or raids, interrogations or investigations.
Incidents that are considered press freedom issues that do not fit into the other categories.

Other useful definitions

A note on laws
Laws included are any laws proposed or introduced since 2018 that impact the freedom of the press in the country for both local and foreign journalists. Laws introduced prior to 2018 are documented in circumstances where the law has had a significant and lasting impact on the nature of press freedom in the country. These laws have been globally recognised as inhibiting the rights of journalists and their ability to publish information for the public.
An affidavit is a written account of someone’s evidence or statement of facts. It is the main way you present evidence to a court.
To call or bring an individual before a court to answer a criminal charge.
Blasphemy law
A blasphemy law prohibits blasphemy, where blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence to a deity, or toward something considered sacred to a religion.

Target types

A person who, while adhering to a code of conduct and ethical principles of journalism, writes in the public interest for newspapers, magazines, news websites or prepares news to be broadcast.
Media organisation
An entity engaged in disseminating journalism to the general public through a newspaper, magazine, other publication, radio, television, cable television, or other medium of mass communication.
Whistleblowers to media.
Other media worker
Incudes camera operators, editorial staff or non-commercial news production.
Targets that AJF considers to be related to press freedom issues that do not fit into the other categories.
Any incidents that have occurred as a result of the COVID-19 virus.
Cyber-libel refers to when an individual posts something that is false or damaging about someone else on the Internet. Libel can occur too, in a similar way to defamation, offline.
The action of damaging the good reputation of someone.
Doxxing (or doxing) is the act of publicly revealing private and personal information about an individual or organisation, usually through the Internet.
Myanmar Crisis
Any incidents that have occurred as a result of the conflict started by the takeover of the Myanmar government by its military on February 1, 2021.
Penal code
The penal code of a country is all laws that are related to crime and punishment.