Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

“Terminator” v. press freedom

Known as the “Terminator” from his decade as defence secretary during his brother Mahinda’s two terms as president from 2005 to 2015, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sworn in as president in November 2019. During his time as defence secretary, viewed by Sri Lankan journalists as a dark decade, “Gota” reportedly oversaw the “white van commando,” a team of special operatives that used white vans to abduct and murder journalists. At least 14 disappeared in this fashion. Shortly after his installation as president, there was a surge in cases of police harassment of journalists, including raids, interrogations and acts of intimidation, for all sorts of reasons. The tenth anniversary of the end of the civil war and the crushing of the Tamil rebellion, 2019 also saw a disturbing increase in police attacks on reporters covering issues linked to Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority.

in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index



126 in 2019

Global score


39.61 in 2019

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2021
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