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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Sri Lanka: Media Organisations Collective fears that the crackdown may become more severe in the future.

Image courtesy of IFJ: Media Organizations Collective emphasises  that they will not hesitate to take legal action against the suppressive moves.

Issuing a media statement on the arrest of two media workers yesterday the Media Organisation Collective expresses fears that the crackdown may become more severe in the future. the statement says that “by passing new laws like the Security of Online Mechanisms Act, and the Anti-Terrorism Act, the necessary legal background is being created for suppression of free speech in Sri Lanka. Journalists are thus arrested in a blatant attempt to silence them through intimidation.”

“The media organisations collective strongly condemns the arrest of journalist Mr. Bimal Ruhunage and Ravana Lanka website owner G. P Nishanka by the police.

“Mr. Bimal Ruhunage, who was arrested by the Crime Division of the Kurunegala Police for obstructing police duty while reporting an incident at the Kurunegala Bus Station, was brought before the Kurunegala Magistrate and remanded in custody until March 11. He was accused of posing a threat to national security. G.P. Nishanka, the owner of the Ravana Lanka website, has been remanded until March 20 after being presented before the Fort Magistrate.

“The media organizations collectively see the arresting of journalists, bringing them before the law and remanding them in prison just for reporting an incident or news. This is an attempt to force self-censorship by intimidating other journalists engaged in independent reporting.

If there are any problems with the media reporting related to these events, they can be solved through a broad discussion in the media community. and with media reformation. The media organization collective sees the arrests as part of the program launched to limit the freedom of expression, questioning the nature of the reporting and the limits of the freedom of the media. The Media collective fears that the crackdown may become more severe in the future.

“These arrests are made by the Sri Lankan Police, who have been questioned by the Human Rights Commission for “Operation Justice”, an “appointment of the IGP”.
The media organization collective points out that a worse situation can be created after suppressive laws start to be implemented.”

The Media Organizations Collective emphasises  that they will not hesitate to take legal action against the suppressive moves.

(Translation of excerpts of the  Sinhala Language statement issued by the Media Organisations Collective.  )

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