The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is
encouraged to learn that Sri
Lanka’s Supreme Court has ordered an inquiry
into the alleged political victimisation and interdiction of eight media
workers in the state-run broadcaster, the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation
IFJ affiliates in Sri Lanka,
a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court heard the petition from eight
employees claiming a severe infringement of their fundamental rights, and
directed a former judicial officer to conduct an inquiry and file a report
within two weeks.
Marasinghe and seven other SLRC staff claim that they suffered verbal and
physical abuse at the hands of the corporation chairman and some of his associates
in the days before Sri Lanka’s
presidential election on January 26. This followed the eight’s insistence that SLRC
comply with guidelines laid down by the Election Commissioner on fair coverage
for all candidates contesting the election.
observers have pointed out that despite the strictures of the empowered
authority designated by the Election Commissioner to monitor media coverage and
an order from the Supreme Court that the guidelines be honoured, SLRC’s
coverage was grossly biased toward the incumbent president who was contesting
for a second term.
the election, the eight petitioners were placed under suspension and an order
of interdiction issued against them.
support the eight media workers in their efforts to support the state-owned
broadcaster’s compliance with the Election Commissioner’s guidelines,” IFJ
General Secretary Aidan White said.
“It is part
of the obligation of a public broadcaster that it should represent all sides
fairly, especially in a matter so vital to the sustenance of the democratic
process as elections. The media workers were well within their rights to insist
that SLRC conform to norms of fairness.”
before the Supreme Court cites the SLRC and three of its senior officials as
respondents. It pleads for an immediate order reversing the interdiction of the
eight petitioners and for restraining senior management from harassing them and
broadcasting any information that may falsely implicate them in wrongdoing.
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
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