Feb 12, Colombo: According to a leading survey, Sri Lanka further declined in press freedom last year to place it among the 20 worst countries in the world for media expression.
The annual World Press Freedom Index for 2014 compiled by Paris based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Sri Lanka 165th sliding two notches from the previous year.
"In the north of Sri Lanka, the army reigns supreme, tolerating no challenge to the official vision of the "pacification" process in Tamil separatism's former strongholds," the RSF report said.
Elsewhere in South Asia, India ranked 140th, Pakistan 158th, Nepal 120th, and Maldives 108th.
The index widely accepted around the world indicates the increasing suppression on media freedom in the country, media organizations point out.
According to RSF, the World Press Freedom Index is based on seven criteria - the level of abuses, the extent of pluralism, media independence, the environment and self-censorship, the legislative framework, transparency and infrastructure.
Finland, Netherlands and Norway ranked at the top of the index again this year, while Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea continue to be occupying the last three positions.
The United States fell 13 places in the 2014 index to rank 46th, one of the most significant declines according to the RSF, amid increased efforts to track down whistleblowers and the sources of leaks.