No improvement in press freedom in Sri Lanka last year
Saturday, 14 February 2015 01:35
Paris: According to a leading survey, Sri Lanka did not show any improvement in press freedom last year although there were no journalists were killed and ranked among the 20 worst countries in the world for media expression.
The annual World Press Freedom Index for 2015 compiled by Paris based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Sri Lanka 165th out of180 countries. Although Sri Lanka’s rank did not change from that of last year score declined from 59.13 in 2014 to 60.28 this year, 100 being the worst.
The RSF in its report said Sri Lanka’s Government attacks the foundations of journalism by systematically obstructing the activities of NGOs that support the media.
The media watchdog noted that in Sri Lanka hundreds of soldiers surrounded the newspaper Uthayan on 18 May when it published a supplement to mark the Army’s massacre of Tamil civilians in 2009. The newspaper Thinakkural was also surrounded.
The new Government of Sri Lanka has vowed to ensure complete media freedom and has taken several measures since its election last month. The Government has allowed journalists to report freely and lifted the bans imposed by the previous Government on several media websites.
The 2015 World Press Freedom Index highlights the worldwide deterioration in freedom of information in 2014.
The Index ranks the performance of 180 countries according to a range of criteria that include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate.
Two-thirds of the 180 countries surveyed for the 2015 World Press Freedom Index performed less well than in the previous year.
Finland for five years in succession ranks at the top of the index again this year, while Norway and Denmark followed in that order.
At the other end of the scale, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, in last place, were the worst performers.
In the South Asian region, Nepal was up 15 places at 105th due to a drop in violence by the security forces against journalists, especially at demonstrations. Elsewhere in the region, India ranked 136th, Pakistan 159th, Afghanistan 122nd, Bhutan 104th and Bangladesh 146th.