The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has denounced the sudden dismissal of Sinhala Daily Dinamina editor, Chandrasiri Dodawatta on November 20 as an unacceptable interference in editorial independence.
According to an IFJ affiliate, the Free Media Movement (FMM), the unofficial reason given for Dodawatta’s removal was his misreporting of the president’s birthday.
“To not give an editor a reason for his dismissal is bad enough, however, if the rumours are true, to remove an editor from his position simply because of an alleged minor misreporting, is a huge affront to the very foundations of freedom of the press,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said.
This comes only one month after The Sunday Observer editor, Rajpal Abennayaka was unreasonably removed from his post, and Dodawatta is the third editor from Sinhala Daily Dinamina to be dismissed by the state-run media company, Lake House.
“Although the state media should be guaranteed independence, the Sri Lankan government is guilty of constantly interfering in the appointment or removal of editors to suit their political agenda,” Warren said.
“This shocking tradition of appointing and removing editors at the convenience of politicians imposes a regime of indirect censorship in state-run media, and restricts the editorial independence that is vital for a healthy democracy,” Warren said.
The IFJ, the organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in 115 countries, reiterates the need for a truly independent public media in Sri Lanka to foster an environment in which editors and journalists can work freely, and thereby support an informed and aware Sri Lankan public.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries