Sri Lanka in media group list of ‘oppressive’ countries for journalists

BELGRADE, June 17, 2008 (AFP) – The International Press Institute has highlighted the oppressive conditions for media in a number of countries, including Zimbabwe and Russia, officials said. The IPI board “unanimously” voted to keep Ethiopia, Nepal, Russia, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe on its “watch list” of countries where press freedom has significantly deteriorated, said a statement.

In Zimbabwe, the conditions for media have “remained oppressive, and spiralled to new lows in the aftermath of the disputed elections, held on March 29,” the IPI said.

Ethiopia remained on the list despite the released of 15 journalists in 2007. Journalists there were still feeling the after-effects of a 2005 crackdown, said the IPI.

In neighbouring Eritrea, the fate of two journalists with the state broadcaster who were arrested while trying to enter Somalia were still unknown, added.

In Nepal, journalists had been attacked an intimidated during the April parliamentary election.

The IPI board also warned: “Russia continued to be a dangerous place for journalists,” noting that a number of charges of criminal defamation have been brought against editors and journalists “critical o