Today sees presidential elections in Sri Lanka and reporters without frontiers is concerned about how the media is being treated.
Monitoring of state TV stations Rupavahini and ITN by Reporters Without Borders shows they have been abused by the president and his aides to a rarely-seen degree to promote his campaign.
More than 96.7 per cent of the 1,539 minutes (about 25 hours) of news programmes monitored on these two stations was given over to the activities of the incumbent and his followers. Less than 3.3 per cent was accorded to the opposition, including Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the leading opposition candidate. The two stations were monitored for the seven days ending 24 January.
Today's poll sees a runoff between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his challenger, the former army commander Sarath Fonseka,with the opposition evening raising the specter of a military coup, warning that Rajapaksa will do anything to stay in power.