Sri Lanka - Human Rights and Media

Human Rights and Media

Main articles: Human rights in Sri Lanka and Media in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (formerly Radio Ceylon) is the oldest-running radio station in Asia, established in 1923 by Edward Harper just three years after broadcasting began in Europe. The station broadcasts services in Sinhalese, Tamil, English and Hindi. Since the 1980s, a large number of private radio stations have also been introduced. Broadcast television was introduced to the country in 1979 when the Independent Television Network was launched. Initially all Television stations were state controlled, but private television networks began broadcasts in 1992. As of 2010, 51 newspapers (30 Sinhala, 10 Tamil, 11 English) are published and 34 TV stations and 52 radio stations are in operation. However in the recent years, freedom of the press in Sri Lanka has is alleged by media freedom groups to be amongst the poorest in democratic countries. Alleged abuse of a newspaper editor by a senior government minister achieved international notoriety because of the unsolved murder of the editor's predecessor who had also been a critic of the government and had presaged his own death in a posthumously published article.

Officially, the constitution of Sri Lanka guarantees human rights as ratified by the United Nations. However human rights in Sri Lanka have come under criticism by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as the United States Department of State. Both the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government of Sri Lanka are accused of violating human rights. A report by an advisory panel to the UN secretary-general has accused both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government of alleged war crimes during final stages of the civil war.

The UN Human Rights Council has documented over 12,000 named individuals who have undergone disappearance after detention by security forces in Sri Lanka, the second highest figure in the world, since the Working Group came into being in 1980. The Sri Lankan government has confirmed that 6,445 of these are dead. Allegations of human rights abuses have not ended with the close of the ethnic conflict.

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