Media freedom in Sri Lanka has been ranked “largely unfree” in a newly released world report.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global Democracy Index ranked Sri Lanka at 71 with 6 points in the 2017 global index.
Sri Lanka is on par with countries like Sierra Leone, Serbia and Afghanistan on the media freedom index.
The report says Asia’s average regional score in our media freedom ranking is 5.5, and its average ranking is 79.4.
Governments and powerful political and business interests in many Asian countries use defamation laws and related criminal provisions to punish criticism in the media, clamping down on critical commentary on social media.
The report says the rising pressure on social media platforms is troubling, given the shortage of independent reporting from the mainstream press in these countries.
The Chinese authorities have imposed some of the region’s harshest penalties for negative online reporting as censors have become increasingly sensitive to criticism of the regime and the Communist Party of China (CCP) leadership, putting pressure on foreign news agencies and journalists as well as domestic critics.
The Asia-Pacific region is the third-worst violator of media freedom, after the MENA and SSA regions. In some ways, however, the report says it is a far worse place in which to operate for journalists, bloggers and civil-rights activists. (Colombo Gazette)