Another red light to SL from international on World Press Freedom Day
Saturday, 04 May 2013 08:40
Sri Lanka is placed 4th in Impunity Index ranking and government aggressively censors outlets, blocks information and critical, opposition journalists face threats, severe intimidation states Committee to Protect Journalists in its report issued yesterday - The World Press Freedom Day, declared by the UN to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression.
The report states that Sri Lanka remained a highly restrictive and dangerous nation for the press. It states 'critical or opposition journalists continued to face a climate of intense intimidation. More than 20 journalists have gone into exile in the last five years, one of the highest rates in the world. Work-related murders have declined since 2009, but the slayings of nine journalists have gone unsolved over the last decade, one of the worst records of impunity in the world. The government moved aggressively to obstruct the flow of information. In July, the Ministry of Media and Information blocked efforts to introduce freedom of information legislation before parliament, saying national security would be threatened if citizens were given access to public documents. The government had barred previous right-to-information efforts, including one in 2011. In June, police raided the offices of two opposition news websites, arresting staff members and confiscating equipment. At least five other critical websites were blocked. And in March, the authorities told all news organizations they must obtain prior official approval before issuing any text or SMS news alerts that carried information about the military or police.'
It states 'facing persistent threats, numerous journalists have fled the country, with few daring to return. Some exiled journalists establish offshore news websites or continue anti-government activism.'
According to CPJ Iraq is placed first in the list of countries where crimes against journalists go unpunished. Second is Somalia, the third Philippines and Sri Lanka is in the fourth position. Sri Lanka remained in eh fourth position last year as well.