Condemning the incident where a journalist attached to a state-owned English weekend newspaper Sunday Observer was branded a ‘traitor’ by the President of the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA), the Free Media Movement (FMM) said the incident was ‘anti-democratic’ and a sign of threatening the media.
According to reports, the incident occurred when the journalist contacted GMOA President Dr Anurudda Padeniya to obtain his views over an article about their token strike on August 3.
“Although the GMOA had the right to respond according to their views, it is hard to believe that the leadership of a responsible professional body could threaten the respective journalist. It is sad to note although the GMOA could struggle democratically for their rights, similar to any other professional body, they are insensitive to media freedom, which is an equal democratic right,” a statement released by FMM said.
Indicating a news report by the Sunday Observer that suggests Dr Padeniya has prepared a list of traitor journalists, the FMM said that although ethically journalists could be judged according to their practice, if a certain journalist is named as a traitor, the FMM believes this a step to threaten the media.
“During the past, lists of journalists who were believed to be in the opposition were prepared, they were pressurized, assaulted and killed and later these actions were tried to be justified. These actions which are carried to frighten the journalists are thoroughly condemned by the FMM,” the statement said.
FMM also emphasised that the GMOA could have any opinion, could make any statement and struggle for their rights but media and other Sri Lankan communities also have the same rights. “As such they should remember about others and practice democratically.”