Press Statement regarding missing journalist Pregeeth Eknaligoda

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8th August, 2015.

Media Statement

Free Media Movement demands the crime investigation department to continue the investigation of enforced disappearance of journalist Pregeeth Eknaligoda according to the information that has been received from the suspects and not to give in to any influence. 

The crime investigation division has arrested two people who had been a part of the military intelligence service and during the interrogations suspects have confessed that they abducted and handed over Journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda to an army camp in Girithale in the North Central province, reports said. It is further reported that there is a mention of two high rank military personals.

Journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda was disappeared on 24th January, 2010 and there has been no investigation for 5 years. The investigation was handed over to the crime investigation department under the new government.

FMM believes that this information is a great strength for the investigations to proceed and would like to commend the crime investigation department for opening up the case. Further FMM demands the crime investigation department to continue the investigation independent from the political, military or any other influence and bring the perpetrators to justice as soon as possible.

Seetha Ranjani

Convener,

Free Media Movement

FMM statement re Prageeth SI

FMM statement re Prageeth EN

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Free Media Movement received the Sepala Gunasekara Award for its consistent advocacy for self regulatory press in Sri Lanka at the Editor’s Guild Awards this year.

Annual Journalism Awards for Excellence Programme was jointly organised by The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka (TEGOSL) and the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) for the 16th year. M. Nihal Seneviratne, Chairman of the Dispute Resolution Council of the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka, was the Chief Guest at this event.

The award ceremony was held on 28th July, at the mount Lavinia Hotel Colombo.

 

Digital Campaign Skills training in Colombo

South Asia Solidarity Media Network’s (SAMSN) gender meeting was held in Colombo on 26th July 205. This was gathered under the scope of IFJ Asia-Pacific’s Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs ‘South Asia Media Freedom and Solidarity Project’ and Union to Unions ‘Stronger Unions for Stronger Media’. Local partners of this meeting were South Asian Women in Media (SAWM) and Free MEdia Movement.

Participants of the Gender Meeting

Participants of the Gender Meeting

The recommendations of the study Inside the News – Challenges and aspirations of Women journalist in Asia and Pacific was discussed at this meetings and further on how to implement the recommendations in each country and also as a region.  See the full report here

Free Media Movement (FMM) hosted the meeting as well as the  two day SAMSN Digital Campaign Skills training and campaign development meeting , under the scope of IFJ Asia-Pacific’s UNDEF-supported program for 2014-2016, ‘South Asia Media Freedom for Democracy Project’.  This activity is also co-funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Union to Union. The training was held on 27 & 28Th July 2015.

Presenting campaign ideas

Presenting campaign ideas

Selected members of IFJ affiliated media organisations from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Pakistan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka participated in this training. Training was designed to develop digital campaigns for south asia countries on media freedom.

Training

Participants of the training

 

Prior to this training a local training has also been conducted on digital campaign skills for local participants from across Sri Lanka at Sri Lanka Press Institute. This was also coordinated by FMM.

SLPI and its constituent partners condemn reactivation of Press Council

Press release by the Sri Lanka Press Institute which Free Media Movement is also a constituent partner, condemning the decision of president Maithreepala Sirisena to reactivate the Press Council.

SLPI strongly oppose reactivation of the Press Council; a threat on Media Freedom

The constituent partners of the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) vehemently condemn the Executive actions of the President Maithripala Sirisena to re-activate the Sri Lanka Press Council on July 2, 2015 through the provisions of the anti-democratic Press Council Law No. 5 of 1973. The re-establishment of the government appointed Press Council, re-introduces dormant legislation that provides for wide ranging punitive powers including that of imprisoning media personnel.

Completely reversing an election promise of his to ensure the stoppage of direct and indirect threats and intimidation against print media personnel and their owners, the question arises if this is the short-term and long-term programme he promised in his election manifesto to protect freedom of all media personnel.

On the contrary, President Sirisena has proceeded to, illegally re-constitute the Press Council’s tribunal without even the basic courtesy of consulting stakeholders as he is, in any event, bound to do by law under sections 3(b)(i) and 3(b)(ii) of the said law.

A President who has not only vowed to uphold media freedom, but to regain lost freedoms and repeatedly said he is the only President who did away with Executive powers, has unilaterally exercised these very powers to re-introduce laws that allow his nominees to jail journalists and publishers.

Sri Lanka was the first South-Asian country to introduce self-regulation, with the broad support of the newspaper industry. An 11-member Dispute Resolution Council of the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL), chaired by a former Secretary General of Parliament, has sat on public complaints against press reports since 2003. Since its establishment in 2003, the PCCSL has dispensed with over 1500 complaints from the public at large, through an independent Dispute Resolution Council. This process incurs no financial burden on either the complainant or the State.

The PCCSL is also the implementing arm of the Code of Professional Practice drafted by The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka, and conducts regular training programmes for provincial journalists throughout the country. The constituent partners of the SLPI have demanded from successive political leaders, the repeal of the draconian Press Council Law and call upon President Sirisena to rescind his ill-advised Executive decision to reactivate the Press Council, with immediate effect without dragging this country back into the abyss of a repressive, un-democratic state.

The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) is a body incorporated, constituted by the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka,  The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka, the Free Media Movement and Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association with its Main Objects being “to assist, encourage and facilitate the Press to exercise and uphold its freedom and be responsible to the Public”.  The SLPI is the country’s leading institution that envisages development of media in Sri Lanka through professional training and upholding ethics.  It has two major divisions the Sri Lanka College of Journalism (SLCJ) which handles the training of journalists and the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL) that operates as a mediator between the public and the media.”

 

 

Travel Restrictions on Ruki Fernando Removed

Writing an email to Free Media Movement prominent human rights defender Ruki Fernando said that the travel restrictions imposed on him at request of TID has been removed by the Colombo Magistrate Courts on 30th of June 2015.

Ruki Fernando

“After more than 15 long months, the overseas travel restriction imposed on me at request of TID in March 2014 was removed today, by the Colombo Magistrate Courts, after motion filed in courts today. This was preceded by a written submission in Nov. 2014 and months of discussion with AGs department.

During this time, I had to seek Court permission for all of my 14 visits overseas for human rights related work. I had to cancel many human rights engagements in Sri Lanka to go to courts (sometimes two court appearances for one overseas visit). Even after I got permission, I was stopped by immigration, Terrorist Investigation Department (TID), State Intelligence Service (SIS) at the airport, for times ranging from 5-45 minutes. Endured delays, humiliation and embarrassment as other passengers stared. On one occasion, I was not allowed to travel, missed a flight and was only allowed to travel next day, due to intervention of my lawyers. Only time I wanted to travel for personal reasons, for a Pooja Patel wedding, I could not go as I could not go to courts in time to get permission. Finally, I’m looking forward to travel freely.

Many thanks to Suren Fernando, who did most of the hard work, in courts and behind the scene. Also to Deanne Uyangodafor her many appearances, including today (Believe her first after giving birth to Avan, last was also for me to travel overseas!). Also to Lakshan Dias, Swasthika Arulingam and Buddhima Padmasiri for stepping in whenever a lawyer was needed. They had all given up many other assignments to appear free of charge for me and all much more than lawyers! Much thanks also to Udaya and Darme at INFORM for logistical support and to all others who had supported me in this difficult time.

But the investigation by TID and the gag order restricting freedom of expression continues. Confiscated equipment has still not been returned.

And I’m aware of at least one more person, who has similar travel restrictions, and many against whom investigations still continue and some who have been detained for many years without having had their cases concluded. Long way still to go!

– Ruki Fernando “

New Office Bears and the Executive committee of the FMM

The 24th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Free Media Movement (FMM) was held on May 26th 2015 at the Auditorium of the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI). The following are the elected office bearers and the executive committee members of the FMM for the year 2015/2016.

Convenor : Seetha Ranjanee

General Secretary : C. Dodawatta

Treasurer : Viranjana Herath

Asst. Secretary: Ananda Jayasekara

                Committee Members

  1. Muzamil

Udaya Kalupathirana

Dileesha Abeysundara

Sujeewa Senarath

Sidath Mendis

Jayasiri Jayasekara

Saman C Liyanage

Dushyentha Samarasena

B.M Murshideen

      Trustees ;  K. W. Janaranjana, Sunil Jayasekara

Please find the PDF : FMM Office Bearers 2015

 

 

 

FMM marks World Press Freedom Day in Colombo

1 Free Media Movement marked World Press Freedom Day yesterday (5th) in Colombo. The gathering was held with 150 participants at Hotel Janaki. Media workers, media owners, media organizations and members of the civil society were among participants.

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Lighting the traditional oil lamp by the guests .

The key note speech was delivered by Mr. Wajayananda Jayaweera, former director of development communication at UNESCO international programme. ‘Now it looks as if we have a window of opportunity to re-launch a discussion on media sector reforms.’ He said. To read his full speech click here.

Mr. Paranawithana, Secretary to the Ministry of Media and Mass Communication lighting the oil lamp.

Mr. Paranawithana, Secretary to the Ministry of Media and Mass Communication lighting the oil lamp.

Remembering those who sacrifice their lives for right to free expression. FMM former convener Mr. Sunil Jayasekara and the convener of FMM Ms. Seetha Ranjanee (in the middle)

Free media Movement and Sri Lanka Press Institute organized the event.

Mr.Jayaweera delivering his speech

Mr.Jayaweera delivering his speech

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