The International Federation of Journalists today welcomed the initiative taken by its associate member Free Media Movement (FMM) in Sri Lanka to launch a web site - www.freemediasrilanka.org - to monitor attacks on press freedom and freedom of expression in this southasian country.
The move comes at a crucial time as media workers come under a series of attacks in the lead-up to the November 17 presidential election. In recent weeks a printing press has been set on fire, a news director has been assaulted, and TV crews have been roughed up while covering political rallies.
The FMM site documents the assaults as well as media institution’s attempts to gain access to information on the election candidates, which have been blocked by the country’s Election Commissioner.
The web site also acts as an information resource for journalists, making available the IFJ guidebooks on conflict reporting and safety training. Other resources include studies in the difficulties facing journalists reporting in the country’s northern and eastern provinces.
The site documents earlier attacks on media workers including the murder of Sri Lanka Broadcast Corporation journalist Relangi Selvarajah and her husband in August, the shooting of Tamil.net editorial board member D. Sivaram, and the hand-grenade attack on the Sudoli newspaper offices that led to the death of a security guard and the wounding of three others including two journalists.
The Free Media site also reports on media reform activities underway in Sri Lanka including the signing of the recent Media Charter by five leading journalist associations committing themselves to upholding ethical principles and striving to introduce public service values in the country’s state-owned and privately-owned media.
For more information please contact IFJ Asia on +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries