IFJ: Sri Lanka on a rapid downhill course

[TamilNet, Monday, 05 May 2008, 11:44 GMT]
Noting that in the past 12 months the relationship between Sri Lanka’s civil society actors and the Sri Lanka State has continued to deteriorate, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), a media watchdog, in a report released Monday on “In the Balance: Press Freedom in South Asia 2007-2008,” said that “Verbal and physical attacks, harassment, restrictions on access and vilification of media personnel have become a common feature in the lives of journalists, photographers and all those engaged in the gathering, publication and dissemination of information in Sri Lanka.”

IFJ Report cover
IFJ Report cover
Meanwhile, in another press release issued Monday, the IFJ condemned the continuing anti-media statements made by Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, and said the "IFJ joins its affiliate, the Free Media Movement (FMM), in calling on Sri Lanka’s Government to explain chilling and inflammatory statements by Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary suggesting independent media should be prevented from running reports allegedly detrimental to the security forces."

In the Sri Lanka section of the South Asia Report, the IFJ said, "The lackadaisical approach of law enforcement agencies toward complaints made by media personnel about attacks and harassment has enhanced the culture of impunity for attacks on the media community. No progress has been made in any investigations into killings of journalists that have occurred during the period under review."

"In addition, media personnel have filed complaints of being summoned to several provincial police stations for interrogation about the content of their news reports. These interrogations amount to intimidation and interference with the right of journalists and media workers to engage in their profession."

The report adds: "Restrictions on journalists and media institutions are coupled with systematic and regular attacks on nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and on individual members of civil society, including those engaged in media freedom issues. The Parliamentary Select Committee on NGOs continues to summon key officials of NGOs in order to inquire into the nature and scope of their activities and their funding portfolios."

External Links:
IFJ: Sri Lanka Government Must Explain Defence Minister's Comments


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