The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Free Media Movement (FMM) Sri Lanka, in expressing its dismay over the statement made by President Maithripala Sirisena discouraging investigations into crimes against journalists by the security forces. The IFJ urges the Sri Lankan government to ensure that crimes against journalists are thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators speedily prosecuted.
President Sirisena on March 4 while referring to the allegations made against the security forces, stated that he would protect them. While speaking at the Palali Air Force Base, the President said such allegations are made by NGOs, referring to the latter in a derogatory manner.
FMM convener Seetha Rajanee and Secretary C Dodawatta in a statement said: “Even though these statements can be expected as the President is the Commander of the tri-forces, it is an extension of similar statements issued by the President and several other leaders. Some names of the members of security forces are mentioned in relation with certain crimes perpetrated against journalists and media institutions. Today, all the investigations seem to be at a stalemate.”
The FMM further added: “The demand to expedite investigations and deliver justice for victims cannot be condensed to a mere request of a few NGOs; it is a broad social demand. In this context, such sporadic statements that condemn the demand and parallel actions, might lead to further discourage investigations and breach the trust of people asking for the justice.“
The FMM has reiterated its demand to the government to expedite investigations and deliver justice for all victims including journalists and media institutions.
The IFJ said: “The statement by the President of Sri Lanka hints at the government’s unwillingness to deliver justice to journalists who were victimized by the earlier regime. With the Sri Lankan government needing to expedite criminal investigations to end impunity for crimes against journalists, such a statement by the head of state is a matter of concern. The IFJ urges the Sri Lankan government to move ahead with investigations of crimes against journalists, especially those committed by the security forces, and deliver justice.”
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