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Sri Lanka ranked 141st in the world for press freedom

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Sri Lanka 141st out of 180 countries in its annual World Press Freedom Index for 2016.

The latest ranking is an improvement from last year, where under the previous government Sri Lanka had ranked 165th.

“By electing Maithripala Sirisena as president, Sri Lanka freed itself of the reign of terror imposed by the Rajapaksa family and its allies,” said RSF, adding “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 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,” it added.

The latest report comes just days after Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena held meeting with various media organisations in Colombo, where he warned them that the behaviour of some organisations was "unsatisfactory".

RSF had previously expressed at a move by the Sri Lankan president to revive the government’s much criticised Press Council.

UN Human Rights chief Zeid Al Hussein said on a visit earlier this year that the North-East was yet to have full media freedom, noting that the fear of reprisals “has mutated but, sadly, still exists”.

See our earlier posts:

'Respect your freedom' Sri Lankan president warns media organisations (20 Apr 2016)

RSF & JDS condemn revival of Sri Lankan Press Council (13 Jul 2015)