Sri Lanka shows improvement in global press freedom rankings | Daily News

Sri Lanka shows improvement in global press freedom rankings

Sri Lanka showed improvement in press freedom this year climbing 5 notches up compared to last year in the ‘World Press Freedom Index 2019’.

The global press freedom rankings released on Thursday by ‘Reporters Without Boarders’, ranked Sri Lanka at 126th place out of 180 countries.

Last year Sri Lanka was placed at the 131st rank. The Index ranks 180 countries and regions according to the level of freedom available to journalists.

Published every year since 2002, it is a snapshot of the media freedom situation based on an evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework and safety of journalists in each country and region.

The index’s country specific statement on Sri Lanka also referred to the political coup in late October 2018 and how it affected the press freedom.

“The culminating nightmare for many Sri Lankan journalists came in October 2018, when President Sirisena suddenly appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa – who had overseen egregious press freedom violations as president – as his prime minister. Within hours of Rajapaksa’s appointment, members of his party stormed into several media outlets in order to take control by force. A Supreme Court decision finally brought an end to Sirisena’s political manoeuvre, one clearly prejudicial to journalism, but this episode served as a stark reminder of Sri Lankan press freedom’s vulnerability to political vicissitudes,” it stated.

It also said that some progress has been made in the investigation into Lasantha Wickrematunga’s murder, but almost all the others remain unpunished. “The government also said that journalists would no longer have to fear reprisals when they covered sensitive subjects, yet the reality is somewhat different,” it added.

The index has categorised the countries as “Good Situation, Satisfactory Situation, Problematic Situation, Difficult Situation and Very Serious Situation” as of their performance. Out of these categories Sri Lanka falls into the category of “Difficult Situation”.

According to the Index released on Thursday, Norway ranked first followed by Finland, Sweden, The Netherlands, and Denmark. Turkmenistan ranked last preceded by North Korea, Eritrea, China and Vietnam.


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