නිදහස් මාධ්ය ව්යාපාරය වෙනුවෙන් නිතීඥ ජේ. සී. වැලිඅමුණ මහතා ප්රමුඛ නීතීඥ මණ්ඩලයක් මෙම මූලික අයිතිවාසිකම් නඩුව වෙනුවෙන් පෙනී සිටී අතර මෙම නඩු විභාගය නිරීක්ෂණය භාෂණයේ හා තොරතුරු දැන ගැනීමේ අයිතිය වෙනුවෙන් පෙනී සිටින පුරවැසි කණ්ඩායම් ද අද එහි පැමිණ සිටියේ ය.
The Free Media Movement (FMM) unequivocally rejects the allegations and insinuations made in the Dinamina headline story on Friday (03 February) as blatant lies, unfounded, unsupported and unsubstantiated. We further believe, the report was published with the malicious intent of undermining independent media, which is fighting for democracy and freedom of expression, and those who stand for it.
The fabricated article refers to a conspiracy between the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the FMM and claims a delegation of TNA MPs and six members of the FMM have left for Geneva to mobilise agitations against the government and cause embarrassment for Sri Lanka during next month’s sessions of the United National Human Rights Commission.
We categorically states that neither the Movement nor the individual members have, in the recent or distant past, had any discussion with the TNA on any matter and rejects with absolute contempt, the allegation that six of its members have left for Geneva. These allegations are pure fabrications concocted in the mind of a sick person.
We challenge the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited and the Editor to Dinamina to prove these absurd allegations, and declare with conviction that we will dissolve the Movement and refrain from all associated activities, should the allegations be proven true.
However, notwithstanding our challenge to prove the allegations against us, we wish to state with utmost sincerity that the FFM will not hesitate to join forces with any political party or movement functioning within the democratic parameters, to fight for media freedom. It has been so, and it will remain so. If a need arises for us to appear before any international organization of which Sri Lanka is a member, we will certainly do our duty and represent matters honestly and truthfully.
A government controlled media organization such as Lake House, through one of its flagship publications like Dinamina, making unfounded and sinister allegations against a well-meaning and honest organization committed to media freedom is, without a doubt inspired and sponsored by the government. It reminds one of the attacks on the media personnel in the past when falsehood were planted in their publications prior to such attacks.
We reiterate our earlier challenge to prove these unfounded allegations. In failing to do so we demand an apology to us, published in the Dinamina, as prominently as the original fabrication.
Sunil Jayasekara Hana Ibrahim
Free Media Movement[FMM] Free Media Movement[FMM]
07 February 2012
Filed under: Action alert, Campaigns, Media, Media Attack, Press Release | Tagged: Democracy, Dinamina, FMM, Free Media Movement, Human Rights, Lakehouse, Media, Media Attack, Media Freedom, media suppression, Politics | Leave a Comment »
ලේක්හවුස් පාලනාධිකාරියට සහ දිනමිණ කතුවරයාට අභියෝගයක්
2012 පෙබරවාරි මස 03 වන දා (සිකුරාදා) නිකුත් වූ දිනමිණ පුවත් පතේ ප්රධාන පුවත මගින් නිදහස් මාධ්ය ව්යාපාරය පිළිබඳව නගා ඇති චෝදනා සපුරා ප්රතික්ෂේප කරමු. මේ ආකාරයේ කිසිදු පදනමක් නොමැති සම්පූර්ණයෙන්ම අසත්ය පුවත් සමාජගත කිරීම හරහා ආණ්ඩුව උත්සාහ දරන්නේ මෙරටේ මාධ්ය නිදහස හා ප්රජාතන්ත්රවාදය උදෙසා පෙනී සිටින මාධ්ය සංවිධාන හා එහි ක්රියාකාරීකයන් විනාශ කිරීම සඳහා පසුබිම සකස් කිරීමක් බව සමාජයේ අවධානය උදෙසා දන්වනු කැමැත්තෙමු.
අදාල පුවතට අනුව ’’නිදහස් මාධ්ය ව්යාපාරය ටී.එන්.ඒ. සංවිධානය සමග සිදුකරන ඒකාබද්ධ කුමන්ත්රණයක් පිළිබඳව සඳහන් කරයි. එමෙන්ම ලබන මස 27 වන දින ආරම්භ වීමට නියමිත ජීනිවා මානව හිමිකම් කොමිසම ඉදිරියේ ලංකාවත්, මෙරට ආණ්ඩුවත් අපහසුතාවයට ලක්කිරීම සඳහා නිදහස් මාධ්ය ව්යාපාරයේ සාමාජිකයන් 6 දෙනෙක් ටී.එන්.ඒ. මන්ත්රීවරු පිරිසක් සමග මේ වනවිටත් ජිනිවා බලා පිටත්ව ගොස් ඇත’’.
දිනමිණ පුවත්පත දක්වන ආකාරයට නිදහස් මාධ්ය ව්යාපාරය කිසිදු කරුණක් අරභයා ටී.එන්.ඒ. සංවිධානය සමඟ කිසිදු සාකච්ඡාවක් හෝ වැඩපිළිවෙලක නිරතව නැත. එමෙන්ම නිදහස් මාධ්ය ව්යාපාරයේ කිසිදු සාමාජිකයෙක් ජීනිවා මානව හිමිකම් කවුන්සලයේ රැස්වීමට සහභාගී වීම සඳහා මේ දිනවල ශ්රී ලංකාවෙන් පිටත්ව ගොස් නොමැත.
ඒ අනුව දිනමිණ පුවත්පත තම ප්රධාන පුවතින් දක්වා ඇති පදනම් විරහිත බව හා බොරුවේ බරපතල බව තේරුම් ගත හැකි වන අතර හැකි නම් තම පුවතේ නිරවද්යභාවය තහවුරු කරන ලෙසට අප දිනමිණ කතුවරයාට සහ ලේක්හවුස් පාලනාධිකාරියට මෙයින් අභියෝග කරමු. දිනමිණ පුවත සත්යයක් බවට සාධක සහිතව ඔප්පු කිරීමට ඔවුන් සමත් වුවහොත් නිදහස් මාධ්ය ව්යාපාරය තම කටයුතු නවතා දමා සංවිධානය විසුරුවා හැරීමට කටයුතු කරන බවද දන්වනු කැමැත්තෙමු.
අදාල පුවතේ අසත්යභාවය පිළිබඳ අපගේ අභියෝගය එසේ වුවත් ශ්රී ලංකාවේ මාධ්ය නිදහස උදෙසා කටයුතු කිරීමේ දී ප්රජාතන්ත්රවාදී ප්රවාහය තුළ කටයුතු කරන ඕනෑම දේශපාලන පක්ෂයක් සමග හෝ බහුජන සංවිධානයක් සමග අත්වැල් බැඳ ගැනීමට නිදහස් මාධ්ය ව්යාපාරය අතීතයේ මෙන්ම වර්තමානයේදී ද මැලි නොවන අතර අවශ්ය වෙතොත් ජීනිවා මානව හිමිකම් කවුන්සලය ඇතුළුව ශ්රී ලංකාව සාමාජිකත්වය දරන ඕනෑම ජාත්යන්තර සංවිධානයක් ඉදිරියේ කරුණු දැක්වීමට ද කිසිසේත්ම පසුබට නොවන බවද වැඩිදුරටත් අවධාරණය කරනු කැමැත්තෙමු.
රජයේ පාලනය යටතේ පවතින ලේක්හවුස් වැනි ආයතනයක ප්රමුඛ ප්රකාශණයක් වන දිනමිණ වැනි පුවත්පතක ප්රධාන පුවත ලෙස මේ ආකාරයේ අසත්ය හා පදනම් විරහිත කරුණු ඇතුලත් ප්රවෘත්තියක් පළ වීම අහඹුවක් හෝ අත්වැරදීමක් ලෙස අපි නොසලකන්නෙමු. රජයේ එකඟත්වය හා උනන්දු කිරීමක් නොමැතිව එවැන්නක් විය හැකියැයි විශ්වාස නොකරන අප ඔවුන් මේ ආකාරයේ අසත්ය මත සමාජ ගත කිරීම හරහා උත්සාහ දරන්නේ මාධ්ය නිදහස උදෙසා පෙනී සිටින සංවිධාන හා එහි ප්රමුඛ සාමාජිකයන් විනාශ කිරීම සඳහා ජන මනස සකස් කිරීම වන අතර පසුගිය කාලය තුළ ඝාතන කරන ලද හා කෲර ප්රහාරයන් එල්ල කරන ලද ජනමාධ්යවේදීන් හා ජනමාධ්ය ආයතන ඉලක්ක කර ගනිමින් ද ආණ්ඩුව මේ ආකාරයේ පූර්ව ප්රචාරක උපක්රමයන් අනුගමනය කර ඇති බවද මෙහිදී සිහිපත් කරනු කැමැත්තෙමු.
එබැවින් අප නැවත නැවතත් ලේක්හවුස් පාලනාධිකාරියට හා දිනමිණ කර්තෘවරයාට අභියෝග කරන්නේ එම පුවතේ සත්යතාවය තහවුරු කිරීම සඳහා සාධක සහිතව කරුණු ඉදිරිපත් කරන ලෙසය. එසේ නොවන්නේ නම් නිදහස් මාධ්ය ව්යාපාරයෙන් සමාව අයදිමින් අදාල පුවත නිවැරදි කරන ලෙසය.
Filed under: Action alert, Campaigns, Press Release | Tagged: Democracy, Dinamina, FMM, Free Media Movement, Human Rights, Lakehouse, Media, Media Attack, Media Freedom, media suppression, Politics | Leave a Comment »
Mr. Alwis was assaulted by the UPFA Member at Passarayaya for publishing a report regarding a community center in the area.[16 January 2012]
For Sri Lankan journalists, January might be the cruelest month. In January 2011, Sonali Samarasinghe wrote about the death of her husband Lasantha Wickramatunga two years earlier on January 8, 2009. In January 2010 I reported in “Sri Lanka: A year later, still failing to fight media attacks” about the government’s inactivity in investigating Wickramatunga’s death one year on. That was a follow up to the February 2009 “Failure to Investigate,” in which CPJ had investigated his death and two other January attacks — one a bombing raid on an independent television station and the other — an attack similar to that on Wickramatunga, though not fatal — on Upali Tennakoon, the editor of a Sinhala newspaper.
Now, three years after Wickramatunga, the editor-in-chief of The Sunday Leader, was killed by eight men on four motorcycles who attacked him with metal and wooden poles after cutting off his car on a busy street near a police checkpoint and air force base in a suburb of Colombo, the court hearing periodic reports from police in the investigation has made no substantive movement toward bringing any of the perpetrators to justice.
Samarasinghe has released a wide-ranging indictment of the government’s inactivity and the continuing onslaught against independent media in Sri Lanka. The Free Media Movement released its statement Sunday. The Sunday Leader‘s remembrance, “Lasantha Was Murdered 3 Years Ago …Remembering Lasantha,” noted that “three years later and with over sixty dates in court, the Police have still not made any headway with the investigation.”
And coming up on January 24 is the second anniversary of the disappearance of Prageeth Eknelygoda, a cartoonist and pro-opposition journalist – another case that remains tied up in court hearings with no substantive movement. Eknelygoda’s wife and two sons have gotten no word from any official body of the Sri Lankan government, from the lowest police desk to the highest levels of the ministry of justice, about what happened to Eknelygoda.
In 2011, Sri Lanka ranked fourth worst in the world in terms of allowing murders of journalists to go unpunished, according to our global Impunity Index. As we noted in our report, “President Mahinda Rajapaksa has presided over a dark era of targeted media killings and complete law-enforcement failure in addressing the crimes. All nine journalist murders in the past decade have gone unsolved, leaving persistent questions as to whether authorities have been complicit in some of the crimes.”
The government has made public its report from the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, which has been rejected internationally as a whitewash of conduct in the decades-long conflict with secessionist Tamil movements, notably the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. As we noted in a November 15 blog, “Sri Lanka’s savage smokescreen,” “A March 2011 report by a panel of experts appointed by [UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon] called the LLRC ‘deeply flawed.’ It recommended that the government should end practices that limit freedom of movement and freedom of expression ‘or otherwise contribute to a climate of fear.’
The result of all this mayhem is that Sri Lanka’s independent media has been largely restrained, though voices still speak out on occasion. The government’s attempt to rewrite the history of one of the most brutal civil conflicts in modern times has been challenged, but not yet discredited, by any independent international body of any stature.
In that context, the January 2009 murder of Lasantha Wickramatunga and the January 2010 unexplained disappearance of Prageeth Eknelygoda are only two way-points along Sri Lanka’s route to abandonment of its international standing as a country with a rule of law. And, of course, a free press.
[Bob Dietz, coordinator of CPJ’s Asia Program, has reported across the continent for news outlets such as CNN and Asiaweek. He has led numerous CPJ missions, including ones to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Follow him on Twitter @cpjasia and Facebook @ CPJ Asia Desk. ]
Filed under: Campaigns | Tagged: Bob Dietz, CPJ, FMM, impunity, Killed, Lasantha Wickramatunga, Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Media Freedom, media suppression, Missing, Prageeth Eknelygoda, Sri Lanka, The Sunday Leader | Leave a Comment »
30 January 2010
We five major media organizations in the country express our deep concern over the increasing media suppression in post presidential election situation. The presidential election was marred by various threats to non state media and misuse of state controlled public media. In the post election period media situation is becoming serious day by day as clearly shown by development in last few days. We Five Media Organizations condemn theses suppressive measures in strongest terms and express our unconditional solidarity with the media and journalists who are under attack.
Here are major incidents reported so far.
Lanakenews journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, disappeared on 24th January night on his way home from the office. There has been no news on his whereabouts till now. Only answer police has given to the complaint made is that they are doing their investigations.
State controlled Sri Lanka Telicom blocked the www.lankaenews.com on the election day making it impossible for Sri Lankan citizens to visit the site . Lankaenews had been providing much needed space for opposition news and opinions. The Election Commissioner (EC) ordered Sri Lanka Telecom to lift the blockade as a response to the complaint made by its editor to EC. But soon after the final election result was announced by the EC, Sri Lanka Telecom re-imposed the ban, this time more strictly Meanwhile the editor and staff of the lankaenews continue to receive death threats on their phones. On 28th January night unknown group surrounded the lankaenews office located in Rajagiriaya, Boralla and stayed there nearly two hours inquiring about the staff. The vehicle they arrived had the number plate of 32-8432.
Further it has been reported that at least four more websites with critical content has been blocked by state as well as privately owned servers in Sri Lanka. Those are www.lankanewsweb.com, www.srilankagaurdian.org , www.infolanka.com, and www.nidahasa.com.
On 28th January morning Ravi Abewikrama, a programme producer of Sri Lanka Broadcasting Cooperation (SLBC) was assaulted by SLRC deputy transport manager G.D. Somapala at the office of SLRC Chairman Ariyarathana Atugala. Later Chairman Atugala, additional Director General Devappriya Abeysinghe threatened programme producers Kanachana Marasinghe, Herburt Kumara Alagiyawanna and Gamini Pushpakumara using abusive language. These media personal are being targeted for their leading role in advocating the compliance of Election Commissions media guide lines by the institution to ensure fair coverage for all sides.
On 28 January the leader of the major opposition collation partner, the Peoples Liberation Front (JVP) Somawansas Amarasinha told a press conference that Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa calling on his mobile from Rajapaksa’s mobile threatened to set fire to Lanka newspaper which is a pro JVP Sinhala weekly .Later it was reported that unofficial ban on carrying this news item was imposed. Incidentally non of the TV news bulletins carried the news.
On the top of this it has been reported to our organizations that number of provincial correspondents have been threatened and intimidated over the issue of election reporting.
These incidents show clearly that media suppression is on the increase in post election period. These developments will hamper any informed discussion on the aftermaths of presidential election and the malpractices reported. The result will be the violation of people’s right to information. This in turn will seriously limit people’s ability to make informed judgments on political developments. We would like to reiterate that in the light of the parliamentary election due in few months time, it is all the more necessary to re establish our peoples right to information without delay by making the media environment free.
In this context, considering that the press freedom as the expression of people’s right to information and freedom of speech, we, the five media organizations in Sri Lanka earnestly urge all democratic forces in the country, diplomatic corps in Sri Lanka, United Nations, International human rights, press freedom and journalists safety organizations to use their good offices to ensure that government of Sri Lanka stop the media suppression and create a free and democratic post election environment.
Filed under: Action alert | Tagged: Censorship, FMM, Free Media Movement, Freedom of Expression, Media Freedom, media suppression, presdential election, Sri Lanka, state controlled media | Leave a Comment »
Jacqueline ParkAsia-Pacific Director
International Federation of Journalists
They matter to our societies and, as journalists, they give us objective criteria we can use to assess how our governments are performing and standards to measure those who hold power in society.
They matter to us in our day to day work. Human rights are essentially the air that we breathe, they frame the environment that allows us to keep our communities informed.
That’s why the International Federation of Journalists is so pleased to have been working with the Sri Lankan journalists community in this Human Rights Prize Summit.
The IFJ is the global union for journalists. It represents 600,000 journalists organised in 130 independent unions in 122 countries, including here in Sri Lanka.
It is the global voice for the rights of the media, and for those of us who work in it.
So, it gives me great pleasure to represent the IFJ on this important occasion as we recognise the courage and great journalism of our colleagues.
Journalists have a duty to examine and reveal the state of their societies. An important test of a well functioning society is the status of human rights – are they upheld or are they violated?
Do all members of the society enjoy their rights equally – children, young people, women and men, different ethnic groups?
The significance of rights in public service journalism is threefold.
• First, good journalism is focused on the rights of citizens as a matter of course, whether in a subtle or an overt way.
• Second, good journalism relies on the right to freedom of thought and expression. This cannot exist where human rights are abused.
• Third, journalists have a right to be protected – to be safe from violence or other abuse – in carrying out their work.
And unfortunately we have seen too much harassment, aggression and murder of journalists simply for doing there job here in Sri Lanka.
This is a special war – a war on journalism.
We have seen it in the targeted killing of Tamil media workers – no fewer than 14 media workers have been killed in the past two and a half years. This has had the chilling effect of closing down any independent reporting from the North. The LTTE has never allowed independent reporting from areas they have controlled. Unfortunately we are seeing the same now in Government controlled areas.
For the first time we see the use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act used against journalists purely because of their journalism. Tissanayagaram remains in jail for his journalism.
This is not a problem, for Sri Lankan or for Sri Lankan journalism. Tissa’s is the crisis for world journalism.
In the past decade’s so-called war on terror, this is the first time that a journalist has been charged with terrorism offences purely because of something he has written.
This is a shocking, shocking development and it should be a source of deep shame to the government of Sri Lanka.
The International media community is united in its concern for Tissa and stand with our Sri Lankan colleagues in a global campaign for his release.
We see human rights under threat from hate speech from those intolerant of independent critical reporting — endangering the lives of journalists to the horror of our colleagues around the world.
Defence correspondents have been particularly targeted – beaten, threatened and forced to flee the country — shutting down critical coverage of the conduct of the war.
As the media freedom representative to the OSCE Miklos Haraszti said recently: “There is only one thing more intimidating for free speech than harassment, physical attacks, and murder of media workers; and that is when governments tolerate harassment, attacks, and murders.”
When people know they can attack, abuse and kill journalists without risk, the crimes are encouraged and perpetuated.
Where there is apathy and inaction, law enforcement come to seem to share the motives of the perpetrators.
This impunity does not start with the failure to successfully investigate and prosecute murders of journalists.
It starts with hateful attacks against journalists by those in power and the criminalisation of the work of journalists
All this sends a message that it’s open season on journalists.
In all this, Sri Lanka risks being seen as a rogue player. Around the democratic world, governments around the world are recognising that they need to act on their responsibility to protect journalists, a recognition embodied in a recent UN Security Council resolution
These attacks corrode our media and our democracy:
• Beating a journalist not only punished the journalist for their work. It sends a clear message to their colleagues, editors, owners, and to all their families and this has a chilling effect on media freedom and open discussion.
• Violence becomes censorship far beyond the context of the actual controversy; it will impede the press in performing its most important task in defence of democracy, because it is journalists covering human rights abuses and corruption scandals that are most punished with violence.
• The effect of the violence extends to the whole society by collapsing editors’ willpower. Editors are the ones in any democracy that practically define which issues are to be reported and discussed.
• Finally, violence against journalists joins even the forces that commercialise the media. It adds the element of physical fear to the effects that today are pushing the media away from meaningful information, towards empty entertainment.
Despite the deterioration, there are some positive signs. We welcome the Governments moves to put this situation visibly high on the national agenda with the creation of the cabinet subcommittee to look into journalists safety.
The emerging dialogue between the President and government and journalists is another positive step in rebuilding trust and understanding for independent journalism.
Genuine determination and broad support from the government is essential to protect journalists. Government must acknowledge the links between governmental respect for media and the level of societal violence against the media.
Tonight we are here to recognize that despite these difficult circumstances, journalists are fighting back.
I’m proud to acknowledge tonight the many brave journalists that are not with us — the journalists shot, beaten, jailed, forced to flee — all for doing their job:
I’m also proud to acknowledge the brave media community, led by the five organisations, that continues to stand in solidarity and in the face of many threats for their right to freedom of expression and the public’s right to know.
We still have a long way to go in implementing and entrenching the principles of public service journalism across all media in Sri Lanka.
Change is happening and we can be proud of what we achieving and setting in place for future generations of journalists.
Without the solidarity achieved and strengthened in these past few years these times could be much darker.
Tonight we recognize those achievements with the Public Service Journalism prize and the IFJ Human Rights prize.
This year has seen 750 entries and a record number of women shortlisted for the awards. For this the national and provincial journalists organizations must be congratulated. And to the editors that have shown great support for the awards, thank you.
Higher quality of reportage is a concrete outcome of greater professionalism.
That is, more and more we can see the principles of public service journalism in practice, strengthening our profession and strengthening our communities.
Tonight’s awards are a part of that process. They reward the dedication and work of provincial journalists and recognise the real-world value and impacts that high-quality reporting can and does have on the lives of ordinary people.
(Presentation to Human Rights Prize Summit
Colombo, 24 October 2008)