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Sri Lanka falls further in RSF press freedom index

The World Press Freedom Index for 2014, compiled by Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) has Sri Lanka fall further to 165th position out of a total of 180 countries.

Last year Sri Lanka occupied the 162nd spot, but has gone down the rankings due further restriction of the Tamil press.

“In the north of Sri Lanka (165th, -2), the army reigns supreme, tolerating no challenge to the official vision of the “pacification” process in Tamil separatism’s former strongholds.” RSF said.

Jaffna daily Uthayan was highlighted in a case study by the organisation, which conferred the RSF Press Freedom Prize on the paper last December.

“Northern Sri Lanka’s Tamil-language daily Uthayan was the target of two violent attacks within the space of 10 days in April. Two of its employees were nearly killed, its printing press was set on fire and its premises were badly damaged. These raids could not however be blamed on the civil war between the Tamil Tigers and the regular army because that officially ended in May 2009,

“Founded in 1985, Uthayan was the only Tamil newspaper not to suspend publishing at any time during the civil war. Today it is read by nearly 100,000 Tamils, or 20 per cent of the population of the Jaffna Peninsula. It does hesitate to criticize the ruling Rajapaksa family’s authoritarian methods and continues to pay a high price for not kowtowing to either the military or the government. Six of its employees have been killed in connection with their work. In December 2013, Uthayan received the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Prize.”

(Graphic: RSF)

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