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ASIA PACIFIC: Regional Overview


Over 90% of the population of the Asia and the Pacific region live in countries which saw a decline in Freedom of Expression scores during one of our key timeframes over the last decade – nearly 400 million people.

Table 21: Average scores for Asia and the Pacific, 2018

Theme Score
Civic Space 0.45
Digital 0.45
Media 0.46
Protection 0.49
Transparency 0.49
Freedom of Expression 0.46

Figure 19: Thematic Scores for Asia and the Pacific

Note: Figure 19 details average thematic scores for Asia and the Pacific


Table 22: Top and bottom five scores for Asia and the Pacific, 2018

Country Score
New Zealand 0.89
Australia 0.86
South Korea 0.85
Japan 0.83
Taiwan 0.81
Average 0.46
Vietnam 0.14
Cambodia 0.10
Thailand 0.09
China 0.04
North Korea 0.00


Military and security forces perpetrated human rights violations across the region in 2018, especially around elections, as the security situation for journalists and activists deteriorated. A combination of new cyberlaws, colonial-era penal provisions (such as sedition), and national security measures are wielded to silence communicators and human rights defenders (HRDs) alike.