28 Apr 2016

Palau tops region's press freedom list

12:13 pm on 28 April 2016

Keyboard Photo: RNZI

Palau has come out on top in an assessment of press freedom in the Asia-Pacific region.

The report by Freedom House ranks the Marshall Islands second ahead of New Zealand and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Among the greater region's 40 countries, Fiji is the lowest ranked Pacific Island country in 22nd place.

Last year, Nauru, which is ranked 20th, had the biggest decline of any country.

Access to Nauru is heavily restricted, with media representatives required to pay $US5,000 as a non-refundable visa application fee.

One foreign journalist, from the Australian, has been admitted since Nauru hiked the visa fee fortyfold two years ago. It is not known if that journalist was charged the visa application fee.

Japan and Taiwan are the only Asian countries in the top ten.

Bottom of the list are North Korea and China.

Freedom House says press freedom declined to its lowest point in 12 years and only 13 percent of the world's population enjoys a free press.