Seizing Cameras of Hiru TV is Grave Violation of Professional Rights of Journalists – Free Media Movement
Free Media Movement (FMM) today launches its digital campaign ‘Free Expression for All’ to address the issues related to media and gender, right to information and impunity.
Today 25th of November marks the commencement of 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. A survey conducted by International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) last year, with the support of FMM, revealed that 27% of Women Journalists in Sri Lanka have experienced sexual harassments at their workplaces.
A society without Right to Information could lead to chaos, conflict, and unruly situation due to incorrect, distorted, misinformation spread among its people. For years, though it has been attempted to introduce a Right Information Bill through Parliament, such attempts have been futile due to narrow interests of then ruling governments. Consequently, the Right to Information Bill was included in the present government’s 100 days plan too. However remembering us the myth of ‘Balagiri Doshaya’, RTI Bill remains postponing forever. Through this Social media campaign we attempt to make a people’s voice to influence government as well as to aware public on Right to Information.
In Sri Lanka there has been a long standing tradition of impunity on state violence against journalists which began in 1980’s and heightened in recent years. A number of organizations and social movements have resisted this tradition of impunity, whereas the FMM has been at the forefront of such attempts. The ‘Black January’ movement annually organized by FMM is an outstanding event against Impunity on journalists. This Social Media Campaign extends our struggles at grassroots, to the digital world.
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.
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.”