Sri Lanka at bottom of world media freedom index

Oct 17, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has been ranked at the bottom of a world media freedom index prepared by Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based international non-governmental organization that advocates media freedom. The island is ranked 156th, ahead of Iraq and behind Libya, among 169 countries covered in the Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2007.

War is largely responsible for the low position assigned to some countries, Reporters Without Borders said in a statement.

“The increase in fighting in Somalia (159th) and Sri Lanka has made it very hard for journalists to work. Several have been killed and censorship was stepped up as clashes became frequent. The belligerents refuse to recognise journalists’ rights and accuse them of supporting the other side.”

The ranking has been published at a time when Sri Lanka’s media has come under heavy pressure from the government for being critical of corruption and waste in government and in military procurement.

Journalists have complained of intimidation and threats that have curbed their ability to report impartially and without fear.

There were slightly fewer press freedom violations in the United States (48th) and blogger Josh Wolf was freed after 224