In October 2008, a delegation from the International Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression Mission undertook a solidarity and advocacy mission to Sri Lanka to assess the current media situation in the country and support local media under the shadow of the ongoing fighting between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
While the International Mission examined the current situation of the Sinhala, Tamil and English language media, it paid particular attention to the repression against both the Sinhalese and Tamil media, which have come under heavy and sustained attack, especially in areas affected by the fighting. This situation has restricted the free flow of information in the North and East, hindering public awareness both within these areas, as well as throughout the country. This also leaves local communities vulnerable to rumours and language that excites hostility, which in turn fuels instability and conflict. In the LTTE controlled areas, media practitioners are prevented from reporting freely and as a direct consequence press freedom and freedom of expression are severely restricted.
The International Mission found a deterioration in the press freedom situation since its last visit in June 2007, marked by continuing murders of journalists, attacks, abductions, intimidation and harassment.