Come on now, we did beat Laos.

The latest Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders (RWB) is out, and it makes sobering reading. Singapore comes in at 150th out of the 180 nations on the list; down from 149 last year and 135 in 2011/12. It’s Singapore’s worst placing since the list began in 2002. Of the Southeast Asian countries on this year’s list, only Laos (171) and Vietnam (174) finished lower. Not that Malaysia (147) or Indonesia (132) have much to be proud of either. The report summarizes the situation in this part of the world by reference to the stuttering opening-up of Myanmar:

The reform process [in Myanmar] is nonetheless being watched with great interest elsewhere, especially in neighboring countries such as Laos, where the situation of freedom of information has stagnated alarmingly, in Cambodia, in Singapore, where the authorities are on edge, and in Vietnam, still in the grip of authoritarian single-party rule.

This year’s report saw some changes to the survey methodology, with a questionnaire (sent out to members of the RWB network) concentrating on “issues that are hard to quantify such as the degree to which news providers censor themselves, government interference in editorial content, or the transparency of government decision-making.”

In previous years, Law Minister K. Shanmugam has said that our lowly ranking on such surveys strike him “as quite absurd and divorced from reality.”

Still, there is at least nowhere in the world that offers such unlimited freedom to write about cupcakes, coffee and crazy car prices.