RSF: State organizes violence against press in Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 22 October 2008, 14:47 GMT]
Ranking Sri Lanka at 165, ninth from the bottom in a list of 173 countries, the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in the "World Press Freedom Index" released Wednesday, said, "Asia still has the biggest representation in the 10 countries at the bottom of the ranking. Most of them are dictatorships, but they also for the first time include Sri Lanka (165th), which has an elected government and where the press faces violence that is only too often organised by the state."

Noting that the "bottom three rungs are again occupied by the "infernal trio" of Turkmenistan (171st), North Korea (172nd) and Eritrea (173rd) - is that the international community's conduct towards authoritarian regimes such as Cuba (169th) and China (167th) is not effective enough to yield results," the report ranked Sri Lanka below Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia. The report said: "Countries that have become embroiled in very violent conflicts after failing to resolve serious political problems, such as Iraq (158th), Pakistan (152nd), Afghanistan (156th) and Somalia (153rd), continue to be highly dangerous "black zones" for the press, places where journalists are targets for murder, kidnapping, arbitrary arrest or death threats every day. They may come under fire from the parties at war. They may be accused of taking sides. Any excuse will do to get rid of "trouble-makers" and "spies." Such is the case in the Palestinian Territories (163rd), especially the Gaza Strip, where the situation got much worse after Hamas seized power. At the same time, in Sri Lanka (165th), where there is an elected government, the press has to face violence that is only too often organised by the state. On the countries occupyuing top spots, the report said, "Aside from New Zealand and Canada, the first 20 positions are held by European countries. The other is the very respectable ranking achieved by certain Central American and Caribbean countries. Jamaica and Costa Rica are in 21st and 22nd positions, rubbing shoulders with Hungary (23rd). Just a few position below them are Surinam (26th) and Trinidad and Tobago (27th)."

 

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