Image: Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera addressing the UNESCO conference (Credit: Samarawwera Face Book)
Sri Lanka Miniter Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera has publicly accepted that the Sri Lanka government had long way to go to end impunity for crimes against journalists. He has said this in a tweet on the UNESCO seminar in connection with the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ took place in Colombo today.
#SriLanka have succeeded in creating the safe space required for freedom of expression, we still have a long way to go in terms of completing investigations into past crimes, including murder of journalists in the past. https://t.co/TxOQuk6Mnd #EndImpunity #Journosafe #lka pic.twitter.com/llNBgsQVsk
— Mangala Samaraweera (@MangalaLK) December 4, 2017
His speech at the UNESCO conference follows:
It is an honour for us in Sri Lanka to have the City of Colombo as the host of this year’s main UNESCO seminar in connection with the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’.
Furthermore, it is an occasion for us to remind ourselves, and acknowledge, that our country used to be a most unsafe place for journalists, not too long ago. It gives us the important opportunity to reflect on our past, and resolve to never allow a recurrence of that dangerous past in our country, for journalists, ever again.
For the media to be able to fulfil its’ important role in a democracy, journalists, media workers, bloggers, media organizations and individuals must be able to discuss and debate issues freely and safely.
Today, internet and social media platforms are empowering citizens to fully use their right to freedom of expression and access to information to disseminate opinions, information and news. New technology is an enabler of democratic development.
However, this also means that we have to find effective ways to deal with negative aspects such as disinformation, propaganda, and hate speech. These are real challenges that we must find ways to deal with, including through legal means, without suppressing peoples’ right to freedom of expression, dialogue, debate and access to information.