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Press Freedom in a State of Emergency : World Press Freedom Day 2019

Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) marks World Press Freedom Day with UNESCO on the 3rd May 2019 under the theme Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”. It is at a quite critical juncture that Sri Lanka as a country comes upon Press Freedom Day this year given the tragic incidents that took place on Easter Sunday, which once again has brought Sri Lanka’s Press Freedom to a crucial focal point.

Media freedom that is vital for democracy often gets trampled under the foot of current issues that calls for “security measures” and gets compromised in various means. On the one hand journalist rights and access to free media platforms should be secured while on the other hand fair and unbiased reporting that does not incite violence or hatred must be promoted. Manipulation of information, contrived photographs, ideologically prejudiced reports and false news that spread disinformation is now the biggest threat to national peace, transparency of information and reliability of the press.

The SLPI with the decree to create an informed public committed to democratic ideals stands with UNESCO’s mandate to foster freedom of expression and its outcomes; press freedom and freedom of information.

The World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) taking 180 countries and regions into account identifies the state of journalism in Sri Lanka as “difficult” for the fourth consecutive year since 2016. This situation, however, is an improvement of conditions for journalists and media in Sri Lanka given the extremely unhealthy status at which it was for years before. Sri Lanka was identified as a country in a “very serious situation” placed at 162nd position in 2009 and to have reached the 126th position in 2019 surpassing India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is truly an achievement. However, Sri Lanka still remains behind Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Afghanistan of the South Asian region who are ranked higher than us. The RSF index of Sri Lanka for the past decade is illustrated below.

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සිංහල ලිපිය       தமிழ் கட்டுரை

Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) marks World Press Freedom Day with UNESCO on the 3rd May 2019 under the theme Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”. It is at a quite critical juncture that Sri Lanka as a country comes upon Press Freedom Day this year given the tragic incidents that took place on Easter Sunday, which once again has brought Sri Lanka’s Press Freedom to a crucial focal point.

Media freedom that is vital for democracy often gets trampled under the foot of current issues that calls for “security measures” and gets compromised in various means. On the one hand journalist rights and access to free media platforms should be secured while on the other hand fair and unbiased reporting that does not incite violence or hatred must be promoted. Manipulation of information, contrived photographs, ideologically prejudiced reports and false news that spread disinformation is now the biggest threat to national peace, transparency of information and reliability of the press.

The SLPI with the decree to create an informed public committed to democratic ideals stands with UNESCO’s mandate to foster freedom of expression and its outcomes; press freedom and freedom of information.

The World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) taking 180 countries and regions into account identifies the state of journalism in Sri Lanka as “difficult” for the fourth consecutive year since 2016. This situation, however, is an improvement of conditions for journalists and media in Sri Lanka given the extremely unhealthy status at which it was for years before. Sri Lanka was identified as a country in a “very serious situation” placed at 162nd position in 2009 and to have reached the 126th position in 2019 surpassing India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is truly an achievement. However, Sri Lanka still remains behind Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Afghanistan of the South Asian region who are ranked higher than us. The RSF index of Sri Lanka for the past decade is illustrated below.

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