Sri Lanka improves significantly in press freedom
The annual World Press Freedom Index for 2016 compiled by Paris based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Sri Lanka 141st out of 180 countries. Sri Lanka’s rank improved 24 notches from 165th place it earned in 2015 as the score declined from 60.28 in 2015 to 44.96 this year, on a 0-100 scale with 100 being the worst. The Index ranks 180 countries according to the level of freedom available to journalists. 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. “By electing Maithripala Sirisena as president, Sri Lanka freed itself of the reign of terror imposed by the Rajapaksa family and its allies,” the RSF said in its press freedom report released on Wednesday. “The new government said journalists and cyber-dissidents would no longer have to fear reprisals for their political views or for articles on such sensitive subjects as corruption and the military.” The Report noted that the Tamil media - long a target of the authorities, including after the official end of the civil war in 2009 -have seen a decline in harassment and hope it will last. The new government of Sri Lanka has vowed to ensure complete media freedom and has taken several measures since its election last year. The government has allowed journalists to report freely and lifted the bans imposed by the previous government on several media websites.