Censorship and Disinformation Virus Hits Asia-Pacific: RSF Report

Stop killing journalists. Photo: UNESCO
Stop killing journalists. Photo: UNESCO

Such arm-chair reports are meaningless, as they have no impact on the governments who persecute and kill journalists. 

The Asia-Pacific region’s authoritarian regimes have used the Covid-19 pandemic to perfect their methods of totalitarian control of information, while the “dictatorial democracies” have used it as a pretext for imposing especially repressive legislation with provisions combining propaganda and suppression of dissent. The behaviour of the region’s few real democracies have meanwhile shown that journalistic freedom is the best antidote to disinformation.

These are among the findings of a new report (including the World Press Freedom Index) released on April 20 by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) – an international NGO which works with the stated aim of safeguarding the right to freedom of information.  

Editor’s Note

RMN News Service – which produces The Unrest news magazine – cannot independently confirm the veracity of the RSF report, as this report is a smorgasbord of randomly lifted news snippets from secondary sources. Such arm-chair reports are meaningless, as they have no impact on the governments who persecute and kill journalists. ~ Rakesh Raman

In a perfunctory manner, the RSF report carries some information on press freedom status in countries such as China, North Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, etc.  But the report fails to explain how it will protect journalists and ensure press freedom in these countries.

In fact, today there is no organization in the world that is working effectively to protect journalists from state excesses and police brutality. Although UNESCO and other UN agencies also keep releasing loose statements and random reports about media freedom, they too have failed miserably to protect journalists in different countries.

Similarly, the organizations – such as RSF, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, associations of journalists – that claim to be working for press freedom and protection of journalists operate only as secondary news outlets. They lift news from here and there about attacks on journalists and simply publish it under their own banners on their websites along with some customary condemnation statements. They cannot influence and change the brutal decisions of the authorities that are unleashing terror on journalists. 

Since the powerful EU Member States, G7 countries, and the U.S. prefer to sell their products and services in the authoritarian nations, their commercial interests dominate the human values that they promote ostensibly. Therefore, the money-minded leaders in these countries ignore the human rights violations and attacks on the media, and do not take punitive actions against the cruel rulers. As a result, attacks on journalists and other citizens are increasing in all parts of the world. 

Therefore, reports from RSF and other such outfits can be simply ignored and dumped, as they do not serve any purpose.

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Rakesh Raman