Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned at reports that broadcasts of the
BBC Sinhala and Tamil programs in Sri Lanka were censored by the
government-controlled host network.
According to the five leading
journalists’ organisations in Sri
Lanka, known as the Five Media Collective,
several sections of a broadcast of a speech on November 27 by V. Prabhakaran, the
leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and the subsequent
political commentary program Defence
Watch were made inaudible.
The Five Media Collective said it received
information to suggest that the government-controlled and publicly funded Sri
Lanka Broadcasting Cooperation (SLBC), which hosts the BBC local language
programs, intervened in the broadcast to censor anti-government commentary
about Sri Lanka’s
“This act of censorship by SLBC authorities is a clear
violation of the people's right to information and is an interference with the
democratic entitlement to the free exchange and contest of alternative
perspectives on a key issue of public policy,” the Five Media Collective said
in a statement today.
Media Collective comprises of the Free Media Movement (FMM),
the Federation of Media Employees Trade Union (FMETU), the Sri Lanka Working
Journalists Association (SLWJA), all IFJ affiliates, and the Sri Lankan Muslim
Media Forum and the Sri Lankan Tamil Media Alliance.
of severe conflict and war it is especially important that the public has
access to information, independent reports, commentary and differing points of view.
Efforts to allow the expression of only one point of view limit opportunities
for conflict mitigation,” IFJ Asia-Pacific
and critical reporting on the conflict in Sri Lanka is frequently met with
hostility by both sides to the conflict.
On June 2,
the commander of the Sri Lankan army, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, made
statements criticising journalists as undeserving of basic freedoms after the May
22 abduction and assault of Keith Noyahr, deputy
editor and defence writer for the English weekly The Nation.
2007, Iqbal Athas, a defence correspondent and associate editor for The Sunday Times in Colombo, was verbally attacked by the Sri
Lankan government due to his criticism of government corruption and military
joins the Five Media Collective in demanding SLBC explain immediately the
reason for the interference in the broadcast and urges Sri Lanka’s
Government to end censorship.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide