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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Sri Lanka media organisations call on Health Ministry spokesperson to apologise for his statement: ” Killed journalists were of 3rd class”

“We do not intend to go into a discourse about your definition of ‘third-class work’ and ‘class’. However, we as the Media Organizations Collective consider that it is your duty as a responsible official, to apologize to the journalists who have been victims of heinous crimes and now disgraced by your statements, their families that have been deeply hurt, as well as to the media community, for your detrimental statements that have been planted in the public domain.”

Dr. Hemantha Herath,

Spokesperson,

Ministry of Health,
Suwasiripaya,
No. 385, Ven. Baddegama Wimalawansa Thero Mawatha,
Colombo 10.

Insulting murdered journalists by referring to them as those involved in ‘third-class activities’.

Dr. Hemantha Herath,

As the Media Organizations Collective, we are appalled by your reference to slain journalists as those involved in ‘third-class activities’, and you have heaped an unsurmountable insult and disgrace on the journalists who sacrificed their lives for their work against injustice suffered by the people and matters that were detrimental to the country. Although justice has not been served for the crimes (murders, disappearances, and attacks) committed against journalists throughout history, we believe that they were deliberate and planned crimes committed to removing them from their activities.

Following your main remarks at the news conference held at the Health Promotion Bureau on June 3, it is stated that you had made this statement in anger targeting a journalist who continued to question an issue that was not relevant to the theme of the day. However, this statement made as the media spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, the insult and contempt you have inflicted on journalists who have been victims of crime cannot be underestimated. We, the media community that has been crying out for justice for them, as well as all their families, are deeply wounded and hurt by this statement.

We do not intend to go into a discourse about your definition of ‘third-class work’ and ‘class’. However, we as the Media Organizations Collective consider that it is your duty as a responsible official, to apologize to the journalists who have been victims of heinous crimes and now disgraced by your statements, their families that have been deeply hurt, as well as to the media community, for your detrimental statements that have been planted in the public domain. This letter will also be released to all media to further underline, our concerns.

Link to Video Dr Hemantha Herath

Media Organizations Collective

Dharmasiri Lankapely
Secretary
Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Unions
Seetha Ranjanee,
Convener,
Free Media Movement
Duminda Sampath,
President,
Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association
N.M. Ameen,
President,
Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum
Kanapathipillai Sarvananda
Secretary
Tamil Media Alliance
Indunil Usgodaarachchi,
Secretary,
Young Journalists Association

 

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