Media should safeguard the country’s image rather than fuel political animosity, says Keheliya
A workshop on the theme “Patriotism and the role of the media” was organised by the Government Information Department to commemorate World Press Freedom Day. �A message from Minister Keheliya Rambukwella was read out by the Government Information Director General Prof. Ariyaratne Ethugala stating that the media should safeguard the image and portray development of the country rather than fuel political animosity. He stated that the media is a powerful and trustworthy tool in moulding the opinion of the people and understanding and that it is playing an important role similar to the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.
“Distorting of information, misleading the people and destabilising society by using the media are also taking place. In this regard that it is important that the professional journalists should act with the right understanding. As it has been emphasised in the Mahinda Chintana, it is my belief that instead of using the media to fuel political animosity, it should be used with self restraint for achieving the country’s social, cultural and economic development objectives and to raise the glorious name of the country without damaging social and moral ethics,” he stated.
The minister went on to say that as it has been acknowledged in the Constitution the right of the people to freedom of language and freedom of expression and if these rights are not being implemented properly people will lose faith in democracy.�“If the people get correct information about things happening in the country at all times, they will come to the right conclusions,” he stated.
The minister said with media freedom institutions that practice journalism have also increased and it is “essential to identify the right path the media should take.”�He also stated that the workshop conducted that day will trace a clear path to understand the road map of journalism.
Also speaking at the event Mass Media and Information Ministry Secretary Charitha Herath said the media should serve as a bridge to build the country. �He further stated that proper regulation and a set of ethics are essential for the media. He said a time has come to rebuild Sri Lanka through patriotism by taking national interests forward and added the media plays a vital role to do so.
The workshop was held at the Government Information Department auditorium.
PCCSL in Jaffna to serve aggrieved Northern Province readers
JAFFNA – The Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL), the self-regulatory body of the newspaper industry, opened an office in Jaffna on Friday, May 3, at 2.30 pm at 117, Station Road, Jaffna, to coincide with the United Nation’s World Press Freedom Day.
This comes in the wake of a series of physical attacks on Jaffna-based newspapers, blamed on pro-government ‘elements’, an accusation hotly denied by the authorities.
A representative gathering of the clergy, government and military officials, publishers, editors, and journalists from the Jaffna-based media were present at the opening, where PCCSL officials spoke of their efforts to bring about amicable settlements between aggrieved readers and the media over published news items, by way of conciliation, mediation and arbitration to the satisfaction of all parties.
The Jaffna branch of the PCCSL is aimed at serving the needs of the Northern Province newspaper readers, including government authorities who may have a complaint against an inaccurate publication and facilitate their complaint reaching the PCCSL’s main office in Colombo.
The complaints will be inquired into by the PCCSL Secretariat in Colombo and the Commission’s 11-member Dispute Resolution Council chaired by former Secretary General of Parliament and the country’s first Ombudsman, Sam Wijesinha.
The branch office was declared open by the founder of the Thinakurral newspaper, S.P. Samy who is also Chairman of the Northern Central Hospital in Jaffna, the biggest private hospital in the Northern Province, with the participation of the Jaffna Archdeacon Rev. S.J. Jeyaveerasingan, the Jaffna Brigade Commander, Brigadier Chandana Gunawardene, Lake House Jaffna Branch Manager, J. Sudaharan, Jaffna College Principal,, Vaddukoddai Noel Vimalendran and District Child Protection Officer, District Secretariat, Jaffna Ms. S. Kothai among others.
This is the 20th Anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, since it was announced by UNESCO, and also the 10th anniversary of the PCCSL.
The PCCSL is supported by the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka, The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka, Free Media Movement, Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI), Sri Lanka College of Journalism (SLCJ), Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (STMA), Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMMF), Federation of Media Employees Trade Union (FMETU) and South Asia Free Media Association (Sri Lanka Chapter).
A media statement by the PCCSL announced that their Jaffna Office will be open from Monday to Friday from 8.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (For more information call 0214 927 000 – Jaffna or 011-53 53 635 -Colombo).
Journalists are truth-seekers who must prevail over tyranny�
Democracy is above the will of the majority – even if the majority agrees certain things should not occur, said Dr. Rohan Edrisinha, citing the 1982 referendum in a lecture on “Freedom of speech and expression and the rule of law” organised by the Free Media Movement in Colombo to mark the World Press Freedom Day on Friday.
“Sri Lanka is a good example for the tyranny of the majority,” he said, adding that the ‘82 referendum, held at the directive of the then president J.R. Jayewardene to prolong the life of parliament for another six years without holding a general election, could never be morally or constitutionally justified.
There were some essential rationales behind the freedom of expression, Dr Edrisinha noted. The quest for the truth was one, and no opinion should be silenced because the silenced opinion may contain the heart of the truth.�Another rationale was the “market-place of ideas” – the truth would come out only when there was free public discourse.
Dr. Edrisinha, who is constitutional advisor to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Nepal, said journalists in Nepal played a vital role in strengthening democracy in that country.�“There are over 150 ethnic groups and more than 100 languages but thanks to the efforts of the journalists these ethnic groups are now discussing democracy, federalism and presidential system,” he said.
The existence of a democracy or a government that reflects the will of the people depended on the availability of political choices. “We have choices: we have a number of socialist parties,” Dr. Edrisinha said, noting that these groups could never get together for some “obscure ideology” and their membership was dwindling.
He said there were a number of elected dictatorships in Asia, and freedom of expression was important to curb the abuse of power by such governments.�Tolerance of the difference is another aspect of freedom expression, he added. “There is a rise in religious fundamentalism in Asia. It is, therefore, important that people should be tolerant.”
Judges and lawyers bore responsibility for upholding the rule of law and protecting the freedom of expression.�The Supreme Court struck down the attempt by the previous regime to create a broadcast authority, aiming at controlling not only the government but also the private media.
Dr. Edrisinha also pointed out that there were “gaps in the Supreme Court rhetoric and its decisions”. The court, eloquent about the freedom of expression on certain occasions, had given very conservative judgments. On one occasion it even upheld emergency regulations against the freedom of expression, he pointed out.
Even in Contempt of Court proceedings the judiciary and the legal community should strike a balance, he said.�Sri Lankan courts remained “very conservative with regard to the applicability of sub-judice rule when commenting on the cases pending before courts whereas there are international standards which are more liberal”.
Right to information, contempt of court and sub-judice rule are questions that should be addressed strategically. The country would rather have nothing than a badly-drafted Right of Information Act, he said.�Dr. Edrisinha said it was a positive development that even the United Nations had recognised it was important for journalists to be able to carry out their work in safety. UN Chief Ban Ki-moon, in his message, said this year’s Press Freedom Day highlighted the need for action to uphold the right of journalists to carry out their vital work, he said.
Divided media easy to isolate, attack and made submissive: Scribes
A lack of unity among media is a major reason for attacks on news institutions and journalists and the restriction of their freedom, industry practitioners said last week. �Journalists met at the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) in Narahenpita on Friday to discuss the topic “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in all Media”, sponsored by UNESCO to mark World Press Freedom Day.
On the panel were SLPI Chairman and Express Newspapers Managing Director Kumar Nadesan, the Sunday Times Deputy Editor Ameen Izzadeen, Derana News and Current Affairs Head Shehan Baranage, TNL Radio Network Head Sunesh Rodrigo, Sunday Leader Editor-in-Chief Shakuntala Perera and Vikalpa online magazine Chief Editor Sampath Samarakoon.
Journalists were divided along ethnic lines, pointed out Mr. Izzadeen. As a result of this disunity, the media had lost its collective strength.�For example, Sinhala and English newspapers reported the fuel price hike in February last year, by saying the country was paralysed. Tamil newspapers, however, took a different line. They reported a US Embassy press conference at which it was announced that the US would back the resolution on Sri Lanka, when it comes up before the UN Human Rights Council.
If all media spoke in one voice on issues, the impact would be much greater, Mr. Izzadeen said. He was backed by Mr. Sunesh who also said Sri Lankan journalists lacked unity. “How many journalists actually protested when the Uthayan News institution was attacked, or when a journalist was harassed, assaulted or killed?” he asked. “Has there been any instance of more than 100 people gathering in protest?”
“This is where journalists have failed,” Mr. Sunesh opined. He also said many Sri Lankan media institutions were owned or influenced by parties closely associated with the government. This contributed towards politicisation, undue influence and bias.�“Journalists have failed to safeguard ethics, and therefore, have let down the whole industry,” said Ms Perera.
“There is nothing to celebrate in this day,” observed Mr. Samarakoon. “Many journalists were murdered or assaulted, but till today, nobody has been arrested for any of these deeds.”�“Several blogs and websites have been blocked in recent times,” he said, adding that it was not surprising Sri Lanka was ranked a poor 162 in the Reporters without Borders World Press Freedom Index.
Mr. Baranage differed. He said journalism in Sri Lanka was not as restricted as it is claimed. “We don’t have boundaries and we do have freedom of expression,” he insisted. “The public were increasingly using new technologies and media to express their views without being shackled.”
According to UNESCO statistics, more than 600 journalists have been killed worldwide, during the past 10 years.
Free Media Movement cordially invite you to World Media Freedom Day lecture on ”FREEDOM OF SPEECH,EXPRESSION AND THE RULE OF LAW” organized by Free Media Movement together with Sri Lanka Press Institute.
By – Mr. ROHAN EDIRISINGHA – Constitutional adviser, UNDP – Nepal.
Date and time – 3rd May (World Media Freedom Day) at 4.30 pm
Venue – Hotel Janaki, Fife road, Colombo (Narahenpita)
The United States has reminded the Sri Lankan government that support for media freedom was one of the many recommendations of the LLRC report and a component of the recent UNHCR resolution in Geneva.
Acting State Department Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell said the US condemns the reported attack against the Uthayan newspaper recently.
Responding to a question on Sri Lanka at the daily US State Department press briefing yesterday (Monday) Ventrell said the incident is the latest in a series of attacks against Uthayan and media organizations in general.
“And as we have said many times, we remain extremely concerned about threats to freedom of expression in Sri Lanka. Support for media freedom was one of the many recommendations of the LLRC report and a component of the recent UNHCR resolution in Geneva,” he said.
The acting Deputy Spokesperson said the US would like to urge the Sri Lankan authorities to protect freedom of expression, to conduct a credible investigation, and to hold perpetrators accountable. (Colombo Gazette)
මාධ්ය මර්ධනයට එරෙහිවත්, අවනීතියට එරෙහිවත් ‛කළු ජනවාරි’ විරෝධය ඊයේ(29) ලිප්ටන් වටරවුමේදී විශාල පිරිසකගේ සහභාගීත්වයෙන් පැවැත් වීය. දේශපාලන පක්ෂ නායකයින්, වෘත්තීය සමිති, ශිෂ්ය ව්යාපාර, නීතිඥ සංවිධාන මෙන්ම බහුජන සංවිධානවල සමාජිකයින් සහභාගී වූ මෙම විරෝධය ජනමාධ්ය සංවිධාන සංවිධාන කරනු ලැබූවේ, විශේෂයෙන් පසුගිය කාලය තුළ ශ්රී ලංකාවේ ජනමාධ්යට එරෙහිව එල්ල වූ මර්දනයට එරෙහිවත් විශේෂයෙන්ම ඝාතනයන්ට, ප්රහාරයන්ට හා අතුරුදහන් කිරීම් වලට ලක් වූ මාධ්යවේදීන් හා මාධ්ය සේවකයින්ට අදාළව නීතිය ක්රියාත්මක කර වගකිව යුත්තන්ට දඬුවම් ලබා දීමට ආණ්ඩුව ක්රියා නොකිරීම පිළිබදව විරෝධය පළ කිරීම සඳහා ය. එහිදී පසුගිය කාලය තුළදී ජනවාරි මාසය තුළ සිදු කළ ලසන්ත වික්රමතුංග ඝාතනය, සිරස මාධ්ය ආයතනයට එල්ල වූ ප්රහාරය මෙන්ම මාධ්යවේදී ප්රගීත් එක්ණැලිගොඩ අතුරුදහන් කිරීම වැනි බරපතල සිදුවීම් ද, ඝාතනය කළ මාධ්යවේදී සිවරාම්, නිමලරාජන්, සුගීධරන් මෙන්ම බරපතල ප්රහාරයන් ලක්වූ පෝද්දල, කූගනාදන් වැනි මාධ්යවේදීන්ට ද තවමත් යුක්තිය ඉෂඨ නොවීම සලකා අදාල විරෝධතාවය ‛කළු ජනවාරිය’ ලෙස නම් කිරීමට තීරණය කරනු ලැබූ බව විරෝධතාවය සංවිධානය කළ මාධ්ය සංවිධාන එකතුව ප්රකාශ කළේ ය.කෙසේ නමුත් පසුගිය කාලය පුරාම විශේෂයෙන් ජනවාරි මස තුළදී පමණක් ජනමාධ්යට එල්ලකල ප්රහාරයන් අති විශාලය. එමෙන්ම බිහිසුනුය. නමුත් ඒ කිසිදු සිදුවීමකට වගකිව යුත්තන් නීතිය ඉදිරියට පැමිණ වීමට පිළිගත හැකි පරීක්ෂණයක්වත් සිදු කිරීමට රාජපක්ෂ ආණ්ඩුව මෙන්ම ඊට පෙර පැවති කිසිදු ආණ්ඩුවක් සමත් වී නැත. එබැවින් කළු ජූලිය මෙන් කළු ජනවාරියද ලංකාවේ ප්රජාතන්ත්රවදාය මෙන්ම මානව හිමිකම්වල තරම මැනවින් කියාපාන මාසයන්ය. ලංකාවේ ආණ්ඩුකරණය පිළිබදව මෙන්ම ලංකාවේ ජනමාධ්ය නිදහසේ තරම මැනවින් කියාපාන මාසයන් ය. එබැවින් පාලකයන්ගේ ආශීර්වාදය මැද, පොලීසිය බලා සිටිය දී ම්ලේච්ඡ ලෙස මිනිසුන් මරා දැමූ ‛කළු ජූලිය’ මෙන් ‛කළු ජනවාරිය ද කළුම කළුය.
එම විරෝධතාවයේදී කියූ සටන් පාඨ කිහිපයක්
<strong>ජනවාරිය – ජනවාරිය
කලූම කලූයි – ජනවාරිය
ජනවාරිය – ජනවාරිය
මහින්දලගෙ – මහමාරිය
ජනවාරිය – ජනවාරිය
ලසන්ත මැරු – ජනවාරිය
ජනවාරිය – ජනවාරිය
ප්රගීත් නැති – ජනවාරිය
ජනවාරිය – ජනවාරිය
කලූම කලූයි – ජනවාරිය
ජනවාරිය – ජනවාරිය
මහින්දලගෙ – මහමාරිය
ලසන්තවත් – මරා දැමුවා
තාරකිවත් – මරා දැමුවා
එක්නැලිගොඩ – පැහැරගත්තා
ශිෂ්යයන්ගෙ – ඔලූ පැලූවා
යාපනේදී – හිරකෙරුවා
ගැහුවා ගැහුවා – ගල් ගැහුවා
බැරි අයටත් – වෙඩි තිබ්බා
ආණ්ඩුවට – කීකරු නැති
මාධ්යවල – කට වැහුවා
ගැහුව ගැහුවා – මඩ ගැහුවා
එහෙයියන්ව – පත් කෙරුවා
ඇත්ත හොයලා – ලියන එවුන්
තෝර තෝර – පලිගත්තා
ගහලා මරලා – බැරි තැනදී
කොන්ද කඩලා – යටකෙරුවා
කාර් දුන්නා – ණය දුන්නා
අල්ලස්වල – හිරකෙරුවා
නිහඩ නොවන – පෑන්වලට
අවලාදෙන් – බැට දුන්නා
මාධ්යයට – බය හින්දා
සීල් තියලා – කට වැහුවා
පිට කැපුවා – අත කැඩුවා
බැරි අයගේ – නම කැපුවා
මුද්රණාල – ගිනි තිබ්බා
වීඩියෝ(අනුග්රහය විකල්ප වෙබ් අඩවිය)
ඡායාරෑප(අනුග්රහය විකල්ප වෙබ් අඩවිය)
මෙම විරෝධතාවය ලිප්ටන් වටරවුමේ දී සිය විරෝධතාවයෙන් පසුව එතැන් සිට මහජන පුස්තකාලය දක්වා පෙළපාලියකින් පැම්ණ සම්මන්ත්රණයක් පැවත් වූ අතර මාධ්ය සංවිධාන නියෝජිතයින් මෙන්ම විවිධ සංවිධාන වල නියෝජිතයන් එම සම්මන්ත්රණය අමතනු ලැබීය.
Bangladesh; Sri Lanka; Situation Report; Asia and Pacific; Press Releases
The International Federation of Journalists, in collaboration with partners and affiliates released situation reports on journalists’ rights and the state of media freedom in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The information presented in the reports is the result of extensive consultations between the IFJ and its partners, field visits and interviews by IFJ personnel in the two countries.
The reports highlight the current priority areas for campaign and advocacy work in the two countries and identify focus areas for future international solidarity actions.
In Bangladesh, the deeply polarised nature of national politics continues to create fissures within the media, with owners, who are often compelled to take sides, pressuring professional staff. Political contention is likely to mount as the country approaches national Parliamentary elections in 2013. Constitutional amendments enacted by the current government in 2011, ostensibly to imbed what it portrays as the values of Bangladesh’s liberation struggle, have led to serious discord, and opposition protests have been mounting, particularly against a clause which does away with the system of holding national elections under neutral, caretaker administrations.
After several false starts, the process of bringing to account individuals accused of crimes and atrocities during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of liberation began in 2011. But the pressures and political sensitivities associated with the proceedings of the International Crimes Tribunal – a body created by Bangladesh national law – have not abated despite broad consensus on the need for accountability. Media reporting on the proceedings of the tribunal has often come under the scrutiny of the tribunal, which has twice held particular newspapers and journalists guilty of contempt.
There have been multiple cases where particular newspapers have been charged under the defamation law. The allocation of broadcast spectrum for television channels is often seen to be a source of exerting control and a form of censorship.
Safety issues were highlighted by the brutal twin murder of a journalist couple in the capital city Dhaka, in February, and in a number of retaliatory attacks by political actors, for reporting deemed as critical.
Bangladesh’s journalists began a campaign in February 2012 to secure a new wage accord for themselves. Under national law, statutory bodies are required to be created every few years to ensure that journalists’ wages and working conditions are appropriate to their requirements of sustaining a high level of professional motivation and commitment. These efforts were rewarded in June 2012, when a wage board comprising representatives of the journalists’ unions, the media industry and government was constituted under the chairmanship of a former Supreme Court judge.
Important policy changes in recent times have enabled a growth of community radio in Bangladesh, though licensing processes are seen as excessively complicated. A right to information bill enacted in 2009 promises greater accountability and transparency in governance, though it is seen to grant too many exceptions and the number of those who have been motivated to use it, is still very modest.
IFJ partners in Sri Lanka have been campaigning for media freedom to be recognised as an essential part of the process of national reconciliation, following the end of the country’s quarter-century long civil war in 2009. Their efforts are yet to be recognised, since few reforms have been implemented in the media sector and the recommendations of a high-level commission on national reconciliation remain largely on paper.
Media reporting on the process of resettlement and rehabilitation in the country’s Northern Province, which suffered the worst ravages of the civil war, has often been impeded by security personnel who continue to be deployed there. And far from assuring accountability for the number of attacks and killings of journalists during the war, the pattern of violence has persisted in the years following.
Journalists and human rights defenders are often attacked by official spokespeople on government-controlled media channels, contributing to an atmosphere of intolerance for even legitimate criticism of the government. Websites that carry news and current affairs content on Sri Lanka have been subject to arbitrary rules of registration and in some cases, to police raids and seizure of equipment.
Financially vulnerable media houses have been subject to further pressures as increased costs passed on from banks and financial institutions threatens their sustainability. In addition, change of ownership has often resulted in rapid changes in editorial policies and personnel.
The revival of the Press Council of Sri Lanka is seen to embody a very real coercive intent on the part of the government, since the 1973 law under which the body is constituted conceives of a number of possible sanctions against the media, including the power to prosecute under various provisions of criminal law. The Sri Lanka Press Complaints Commission, a self-regulatory body set up by the media industry, has been seeking to establish its credentials as an institution that is fully equipped to deal with current challenges.
The situation reports on Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were prepared with the financial support of UNESCO, under the International Programme for the Development of Communications (IPDC). The report on Bangladesh is available in English and Bangla and the report on Sri Lanka, in English, Sinhala and Tamil.
The reports can be found here.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific
The United States Embassy in Colombo is concerned about recent threats to freedom of expression in Sri Lanka. The November 28 beating of a reporter in Jaffna, harassment by Government of Sri Lanka officials of independent media outlets, and searches without warrants of journalists all serve to stifle media freedom. Additionally, the Embassy is greatly concerned about reports of attacks on students in Jaffna. We call upon authorities to exercise restraint and respect peaceful demonstrations.
Sinhala and Tamil PDF
මාධ්ය නිවේදනය 2012 සැප්තැම්බර් 29
මාධ්යවේදී ප්රසාද් පූර්ණිමාල් මහතාට එල්ලකළ අමාණුෂික ප්රහාරය හෙළා දකිමු.
පුත්තලම දිස්ත්රික් ප්රාදේශිය මාධ්යවේදී ප්රසාද් පූර්ණිමාල් මහතාට හලාවත රෝහලට අනුයුක්ත ආරක්ෂක නිළධාරීන් විසින් සිදු කර ඇති අමානුෂික පහරදීම නිදහස් මාධ්ය ව්යාපාරය දැඩි පිළිකුලෙන් යුතුව හෙළාදකින අතර මේ පිළිබ`දව පූර්ණ හා විධිමත් පරීක්ෂණයක් සිදුකර අදාල ආරක්ෂක නිළධාරීන්ට එරෙහිව නීතිය ක්රියාත්මක කරන ලෙස පොලීසියෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටින්නෙමු.
ප්රසාද් පුරිණිමාල් මහතාට මෙම පහරදීම සිදු කර ඇත්තේ නියෝජ්ය අමාත්යවරයෙකු වන නියෝමාල් පෙරේරා සහ හලාවත නගරාධිපතිවරයා රෝහල් භූමිය තුළ සිටය දී වීම විශේෂත්වයකි. මෙම ප්රහාරය එල්ල කර ඇති හලාවත රෝහලට අනුයුක්ත ආරක්ෂක නිළධාරීන් පූජා භූමි හා නාගරික සංවර්ධන අමාත්යංශයට අයත් යැයි පැවසෙන පිරිසක් වන අතර පසුගිය කාලය තුළ මෙම ආරක්ෂක නිළධාරින් ඉතාමත් අත්තනෝමතික බලයක් තමන් වෙත අරෝපණය කර ගනිමින් ප්රාදේශීය ජනමාධ්යවේදීන්ට හිරිහැර හා බාධාවන් එල්ලකරමින් සිටින බවට ද චෝදනා පැවතින.
හලාවත පොලිස් ස්ථානයේ නිළධාරීන් පිරිසකගේ ප්රහාරයකට ලක්ව තුවාල ලබා රෝහලට ඇතුලත් කර ඇති ගම්වැසියන් පිරිසකගේ තොරතුරු ලබා ගැනීම ස`දහා ප්රසාද් පූර්ණිමාල් මහතා රෝහල ඉදිරිපිටට ගොස් සිටියදී නියෝජ්ය අමත්යවරයා රෝහල් භූමිය තුළ රුදී සිට ඇති අතර ඔහුගෙන් ලද කැ`දවීමක් අනුව පූර්ණිමාල් මහතා රෝහල තුළට ගමන් කරමින් සිටිය දී ආරක්ෂක නිළධාරීන් විසින් මෙම ප්රහාරය එල්ල කර ඇත. ප්රහාරයෙන් පසු පූර්ණිමාල් මහතා මාදම්පේ රෝහලට ඇතුලත්ව මේ වන විටත් නේවාසික ප්රතිකාර ගනිමින් සිටින අතර ප්රහාරය එල්ලවී සැහෙන කාලයක් ගතවන තුරුත් ප්රහාරයට වගකිවයුත්තන් අත්අඩංගුවට ගැනීමට පොලීසිය ක්රියාත්මක නොවීම හේතුවෙන් ඒ පිළිබදව සිදුකරමින් සිටින්නේ යැයි පැවසෙන පොලිස් පරීක්ෂණ පිළිබ`දව ද බරපතල සැකයක් ඇති වී තිබේ.
පසුගිය කාලය තුල දිවයිනේ බොහෝ ප්රදේශවල ප්රාදේශිය මාධ්යවේදීන් සිය රාජකාරී කටයුතු සිදුකිරීමට යාමේදී රජයේ විවිධ අංශවලට අයත් ආරක්ෂක අංශවලින් එල්ල වූ ප්රහාර හා බාධා කිරීම් රැුසක් සිදු වී ඇති පසුබිමක එවාට එරෙහිව ප්රමාණවත් හා පිළිගත හැකි ආකාරයේ පියවර නොගැනීම මෙවැනි අමානුෂික ප්රහාරයන්ට අනුබල ලබා දීමක් ලෙස සලකන අප සංවිධානය මේ මොහොතේ රජයෙන් සහ පොලීසියෙන් අවධාරණයෙන් යුතුව ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ මේ පිළිබ`දව කඩිනම් අවධානය යොමුකර අවශ්ය පියවර ගන්නා ලෙසය. විශේෂයෙන්ම ප්රසාද් පූර්ණිමාල් මහතාගේ ජීවිත ආරක්ෂාව තහවරු කිරීමට කටයුතු කරමින් ශ්රී ලංකාවේ මාධ්යවේදීන්ට තම වෘත්තීය කටයුතු නිදහසේ කරගෙන යාමට අවශ්ය පරිසරය තහවුරු කරන ලෙසය.
ශාමිනී බෝය්ල් සුනිල් ජයසේකර
Frederica Jansz, a senior journalist and the Editor in Chief of ‘The Sunday Leader’ was dismissed by its’ new owner last week. The dismissal has stirred up controversy, since the newspaper is widely known for its outspoken critical views on government policy. In January 2009, her predecessor Lasantha Wickrematunge was gunned down in Colombo, triggering international outrage and condemnation.
Following her removal, Ms Jansz accused the new ownership of being subservient to the interests of the government and the ruling family. ‘The new owner said our articles were too slanderous of the president and the first family,” she was quoted as saying by French news agency AFP.
In an exclusive interview with the JDS, Frederica Jansz spoke to Sanath Balasooriya about the circumstances surrounding her dismissal.
JDS: There are conflicting reports about the recent happenings in ‘The Sunday Leader.’ Some of the reports claimed that you were sacked from the editorship while several other websites reported that the decision to resign was your own. Can you explain what really happened?
FJ: I did not resign. My contract was terminated with immediate effect on Friday September 21. It followed after Asanga Seneviratne – the new owner – told me that articles carried in the main section of The Sunday Leader are slanderous and malicious of the “First Family” and “degrade the President.” He asked me to stop being critical of the Rajapaksas and even stop carrying cartoons depicting the President in lighter vein. He then took strong objection to two nutshells carried in the newspaper on Sunday September 16, which he told police in a subsequent complaint made together with Sajin Vass Gunewardena not only embarrassed him but could evoke public emotions and incite violence against the President. The two nutshells in question are age old jokes rephrased to suit the local political situation. I maintained to Seneviratne that The Sunday Leader has no personal or political agenda against the President nor any other politician or individual, but that the type of journalism we practice is independent and devoid of any bias. That we as journalists are merely performing our duty in acting as messengers, holding those in political and public office accountable. But Seneviratne refused to understand or accept this position. I then had conveyed to him that I had no intention of resigning given that I had done no wrong that he could terminate my services if he so wished.
JDS: Since the assassination of Lasantha, there was quite a lot of speculation regarding the fate of The Sunday Leader. One of the widely circulated rumors was that the newspaper is going to end up in the hands of Rajapaksa loyalists – which now appears to be quite true. Could you tell us how all this happened?
FJ: It is indeed ironical that it was I who first approached Asanga Seneviratne. I did so asking him what the possibilities were of raising an IPO, since the newspaper was in dire financial constraints. He readily agreed. For one and a half years negotiations were conducted with him and Lal Wickrematunge in this context. However, at some point Wickrematunge was told an IPO would not be possible, Seneviratne then said he had identified 5 or 6 investors and that there would be a private placement. This too however did not transpire and ultimately he emerged as the sole investor buying a majority share of 72%. He in September last year maintained to both Lal and me that he raised the monies from two private banks.
JDS: Your recent encounter with the Defence Secretary created ripples in and outside Sri Lanka. Is there any connection between the latest events inside The Sunday Leader and the controversy involving the top defence official?
FJ: I have been told there is – but I have no proof of this.
JDS: In Sri Lanka, as far as editorial content is concerned, the thin dividing line that existed between the privately owned and state owned media has now completely disappeared. What does your experience say?
FJ: For sure. In fact, next to winning the war this is the Rajapaksas second biggest success story. The stifling of the privately owned press. They have all fallen into line, cowered into submission and subjugation.
JDS: Do you think that your removal increases your vulnerability as a journalist? What are your future plans?
FJ: For a long time now I have been vulnerable. A lone voice with little or no support from my journalistic colleagues. So that situation hardly changes. As for my future plans, my resolve to survive has never been dented so I will continue to do what I enjoy doing most. And that is putting pen to paper.