Press freedom more important than ever in the Asia–Pacific

The current Covid-19 pandemic has had an alarming impact on press freedom. Over the past 18 months, governments across the Asia–Pacific have – knowingly or not – used the health crisis to restrict the flow of information, stifling the press freedom that underpins societies and the rights of its citizens.

Last week, amid growing evidence of media suppression across the region, the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom launched the Press Freedom Tracker – a database that monitors incidents related to press freedom in the Asia–Pacific.

Incidents that stifle press freedom are classified into five categories: physical attacks against journalists and media workers; police actions (such as searches and arrests); government regulations and laws; court cases, legal actions and imprisonment; and other incidents that qualify as violations of press freedom (including incidents of online abuse, doxing and misinformation campaigns).

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