Malaysia has moved up 19 places on the 2011/2012 World Press Freedom Index and is now ranked at 122 compared to 141 in 2010.
The annual index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders, involved 178 countries.
It placed Malaysia ahead of other Asean countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the PhilipÂpines.
â€œThis yearâ€™s index sees many changes; changes that reflect a year that was incredibly rich in developments, especially in the Arab world,â€ Reporters Without Borders said, adding that the past year also highlighted the role played by Netizens in producing and disseminating news.
It said the international media had paid dearly for its coverage of democratic aspirations or opposition movements as totalitarian and represÂsive regimes continued to control news and information.
Finland, Norway and the NetherÂlands topped the index again while Iran, Syria, and North Korea remained at the bottom of the list.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the report stated that the countries that traditionally performed well did not shine last year.
â€œWith New Zealandâ€™s fall to the 13th position, no country in the Asia-Pacific region figured among the top 10 in the index,â€ it said, adding that an army crackdown in West Papua, Indonesia, where at least two journalists were killed, five kidnapped and 18 assaulted last year, was the main reason for the countryâ€™s fall to the 146th position in the index from 117 in 2010.MYNEWSHUB