Sri Lanka is ranked 146 out of 180 countries when it comes to freedom of the press, according to the 2022 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders. The index was published on May 3, which is also World Press Freedom Day. In 2021, Sri Lanka ranked at 127th place.

Norway is ranked no. 1 in the index, followed by Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Portugal and Costa Rica. The bottom ranks, from 175 to 180, are held by China, Myanmar, Turkmenistan, Iran, Eritrea and North Korea.

Among Sri Lanka’s neighbours, India ranked 150, Pakistan is ranked at 157, Bangladesh at 162, Nepal at 76, and Bhutan at 33.

At least 44 media professionals were killed or disappeared over the past two decades, which was marked by the crushing of the separatist Tamil Tiger rebellion. Although journalist murders stopped after 2015, those crimes have gone completely unpunished. The tenth anniversary year of the civil war, 2019, was marked by a troubling increase in attacks on reporters based in the north and on the east coast, the traditional Tamil homeland. Journalists there suffer systematic surveillance and harassment by the police and army. These areas are completely closed to independent media.