Indonesia climbs six spots in 2017 press freedom ranking

The Jarkarta Post / ANN

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Indonesia improves its position at the 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

Indonesia has climbed six notches from its previous place in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Wednesday.

The rise, however, is by no means a sign Indonesia’s press freedom is improving.

The country may have risen from rank 130th last year to 124th this year, but its score has slightly fallen from 41.72 last year to 39.93.

Indonesia is also still at the lower half of the index, which assesses the level of press freedom in 180 countries. Even Afghanistan (ranked 120th) and Nigeria (ranked 122nd) fared better than Indonesia, which was once seen as a model for Muslim democracy.

In the report, the RSF argued that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo “has not kept his campaign promises."

“His presidency continues to be marked by serious media freedom violations, including a lack of media access to West Papua (part of the Indonesian half of the island of New Guinea), where violence against local journalists continues to grow,” it said.

"Radical religious groups also pose a threat to the right to inform. Many journalists say they censor themselves because of the threat from an anti-blasphemy law and the Electronic and Information Transactions [ITE] Law," it added.

The RSF's latest index reflects a challenging time for journalists around the world, including in leading democratic countries. “Democracies have begun falling in the Index and now, more than ever, nothing seems to be checking that fall,” the group said.