Journalists' source confidentiality under threat

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed its immense disapproval at the way the Sri Lankan Criminal Investigations Department (CID) handled its investigation of a Sri Lankan reporter.

Indika Sakalasooriya, reporter for Sri Lankan publication The Nation, was questioned for over two hours at his offices about an article published on the new Aston Martin luxury

Sakalasooriya was repeatedly asked to reveal his sources and contacts for the story, but refused to do so, citing his professional rights under the code of journalistic ethics.

Under clause five of this code, journalists are not bound to divulge their sources to any one other than their editors to ensure source confidentiality.

It states, “Every journalist has a moral obligation to protect confidential sources of information, until that source authorizes otherwise.”

IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park supported Sakalasooriya’s stance, and urged Sri Lankan authorities not to force journalists to divulge their sources when future confrontations arise.

‘‘Journalists should not have any obligation to reveal their sources unless a serious criminal investigation is under way,’’ Park said.

‘‘We whole-heartedly support the actions of both the individual in question, and the actions of the Free Media Movement (FMM) in defending his professional rights.’’

The IFJ supports the stance taken by the FMM, the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions, Sri Lanka Tamil Media Association and Sri Lanka Muslim Media Association in demanding the government protect journalists' right to source confidentiality.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries