Media freedom remained restricted in Sri Lanka in 2012, with journalists subject to myriad forms of legal harassment and physical intimidation, Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world said in a report. The report said that although the government included several items related to media freedom in its July 2012 National Action Plan on national reconciliation – including the passage of freedom of information legislation, enhanced efforts to investigate and prosecute past cases of attacks on journalists, and increased physical access for reporters to the north and east of the country – little progress was made on any of these recommendations by year’s end. The constitution provides for freedom of expression, but it and other laws and regulations place significant limits on the exercise of this right. The 1979 Prevention of Terrorism Act contains extremely broad restrictions, such as a prohibition on bringing the government into contempt. The decades-old Official Secrets Act bans reporting on classified information, and those convicted of gathering secret information can be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison. Although no journalists have ever been charged under the law, it is used as a threat. Journalists are also occasionally threatened with contempt-of-court charges or questioned regarding their sources.
Originally Published at http://newslk.net/wp-admin/post.php?post=909&action=edit&message=6