Press freedom in Cambodia declined in 2014, according to a new report by the U.S.-based NGO Freedom House, which ranked the nation among 18 that experienced “significant declines” over the year.
Cambodia’s press freedom score dropped three points—from 66 to 69—putting it “squarely within the ‘not free’ category,” said Vanessa Tucker, vice president of analysis at Freedom House.
“We noted that Khmer-language journalists have to exercise extraordinary levels of self-censorship and face serious risks if they do otherwise,” Ms. Tucker said.
“We also noted in relation to violence that there was an increase of attacks on and deaths of journalists,” she said, adding that the “continued impunity” in the case of Virakchun Khmer newspaper reporter Hang Serei Oudom—who was murdered in 2012 while investigating illegal logging in Ratanakkiri province—contributed to the country’s ranking.
Freedom House said press freedom globally was at its lowest point in 10 years. Of 199 states assessed, 32 percent were categorized as “not free.”
Vietnam was listed with a score of 86, the worst in Southeast Asia, while Thailand plunged 11 points—the equal greatest drop globally alongside Libya.