(Clearwisdom.net October 23) VOA reports from Hong Kong: a new report by the group "Reporters Without Borders" reports that many Asian countries do not respect press freedom. The report makes a list of countries according to their respect for press freedom. The list does not necessarily parallel economic success, with several rich countries achieving low marks.

The report was compiled from questionnaires given to journalists, academics, researchers, and human rights activists in all countries surveyed. It is the group's second annual report.

China still does not have press freedom

China is saying it has loosened controls on its media, but Mr. Cheesman says the country's laws still violate basic press freedom. He says, "Structurally there is not any real change in China, we cannot say there has been much in terms of liberalization of the existing laws or the structure that manages the media. However, the way the media is operating now is changing considerably. There is an increasing role for the market forces in the way the media operates, as a result, the links to the (communist ruling) party are weakening. "

Asia has some bright spots

Reporters Without Borders points out that several Asian nations lack press freedom, but the report also indicates some pleasant phenomena in Asia. On the list, South Korea took the 49th place, while Hong Kong stood at 56, not far behind the United States, which ranked in the low thirties. Northern European nations dominate the top-10 ranks as those with the freest media.