ජනමාධ්යයට එරෙහි අපරාධ කරුවන් සම්බන්ධයෙන් දණ්ඩමුකිතිය අවසන් කරමු.
ஊடகங்களுக்கு எதிரான குற்றவியல் தண்டனை வழங்குவதை நிறுத்துவோம்.
Sri Lankan rights groups warned Monday that proposed jail terms for spreading misinformation on social media amounted to a wholesale effort to stifle criticism of the island nation’s beleaguered government.
An “online safety bill” that mandates five-year prison sentences for any social media post government regulators consider to be “false” or causing offense is set to be presented to parliament this week.
The draft law compels social media platforms to divulge the identity of anonymous users accused of those crimes with a 10 million rupee ($31,000) fine for non-compliance.
“This is a very draconian piece of legislation that will have a chilling effect on the entire population,” Lasantha Ruhunuge of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association told reporters.
He added that the government was trying to suppress democratic dissent and censor criticism over corruption, mismanagement and abuse of power by politicians and top officials.
The bill is listed for consideration on Tuesday but it cannot be debated for at least two weeks to allow challenges to its legality in the Supreme Court.
Ruhunuge’s organization is part of a coalition of 18 civil society groups opposing the bill, which would also force internet service providers to block accounts the government considers harmful to the national interest.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe has been accused of cracking down on dissent since coming to power last year at the height of the South Asian island nation’s unprecedented economic crisis.
Wickremesinghe has pushed through unpopular tax hikes and cuts to consumer subsidies to satisfy the terms of an International Monetary Fund bailout.
The Sri Lanka Working Journalist Association (SLWJA) presented a research report to representatives from the Ministry of Defense (MOD), Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy, and Sri Lanka Air Force on June 5, 2023, at the MOD.
The research report, conducted by Dr Rajni Gamage from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and independent researchers Harindra B. Dasanayake and Aparna Hettiarachi, focuses on the challenges faced by journalists during the 2022 Galleface Protests. It provides an analysis of incidents that took place between March 30 and August 31, 2022.
According to the report, journalists in Sri Lanka have been working in an environment marked by social and political instability. It emphasizes the need for a formal program to safeguard and promote freedom of expression in the country.
The report underscores the significance of collaboration among various sectors of society and calls for the establishment of trust between security forces and journalists. This collaboration aims to minimize conflict reporting and ensure the well-being of both parties involved.
The handover of the research report was conducted by Dr Rajni Gamage, Senior Researcher Harindra B. Dasanayake, SLWJA President Duminda Sampath, Acting Secretary S. Nishanthan, Treasurer T. Nadarasa and Senior Member Shantha Wijesooriya
The President of the SLWJA, Dumintha Sampath handed over the report separately to the Director of Media of the Defence Ministry Colonel Nalin Herath, Director of the Army Media Brigadier Ravi Herath, Director of the Navy Media Captain Gayan Wickramasuriya, Director of the Air Force Media Group Captain Dushan Wijesinghe and Police Media Spokesperson Senior Superintendent of Police Nihal Talduwa.
SLWJA Hands Over Groundbreaking Report on Journalist Safety During Galleface Protests to Sri Lanka’s Inspector General of Police
The Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA) presented a research report on the challenges faced by journalists during the 2022 Galleface protests to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) on May 3, 2023, at the Sri Lanka Police Headquarters.
The SLWJA released a research report on the challenges faced by journalists during the 2022 Galleface Protests, which was conducted by Dr Rajni Gamage of the National University of Singapore (NUS) and independent researchers Harindra B. Dasanayake and Aparna Hettiarachi.
The report covers incidents that took place between March 30 and August 31, 2022, and indicates that journalists in Sri Lanka have long worked in an environment of high social and political instability, highlighting the need for a formal program to protect and promote freedom of expression in the country.
The report emphasizes that it is essential for different levels of society to work together to address these challenges, with a particular focus on building trust between security forces and journalists to minimize conflict reporting and prevent harm to both parties.
The handover was carried out by Senior Researcher Harindra B. Dasanayake, President of SLWJA Duminda Sampath Acting Secretary S. Nishanthan, Treasurer T. Nadarasa, and Committee Member Lakshman Muthuthantirige.
Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajith Rohana and Police Media Spokesman Senior Superintendent of Police Nihal Talduwa received the report on behalf of IGP C. D. Wickramaratne.
SLWJA Recommends Establishment of Independent Commission for Freedom of Expression and Journalists Safety Fund
The Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA) recommends establishing an Independent Commission for the protection and promotion of Freedom of Expression in Sri Lanka and setting up a media safety fund alongside a sustainable and transparent financing model. The SLWJA conducted a study on the challenges journalists faced during the protests last year through a team of researchers and commissioned the research study officially launching it on the 25th of April 2023 in Colombo.
Sri Lanka’s journalists have been reporting in an environment of high socio-political volatility for numerous years now. The media faced several challenges in relaying accurate and relevant information to the citizens during the protests in 2022.
Journalists were exposed to violence while covering the people’s protests (Janatha Aragalaya) since March 2022, including exposure to tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannon attacks, and baton charges by police and armed forces. Some anti-protest quarters blamed protestors (civilians) for pretending to be journalists to get through security force barricades, falsely claiming media immunity.
Incidents of assault and harassment came from the police and security forces, but also other groups, such as pro-government supporters and from some within the protests itself. Other incidents of harassment and surveillance of media, outside the main protest site, by security forces and police were also recorded during this period.
In the backdrop of incidents prevailed SLWJA decided to document the challenges to the safety of journalists in reporting during the recent people’s protests in Sri Lanka, comparing these to international standards and practices on the safety of journalists, and making policy recommendations pertaining to all stakeholders, including the policymakers, law enforcement and security forces, media institutions, journalists, and unions.
This research was conducted by a group of researchers, Rajni Gamage, Harindra B. Dassanayake, and Aparna Hettiarachchi. The research covered the period from 30th March to 31st August 2022. The research team had consultations with assaulted and affected journalists and media persons (from Colombo, and other regions of the country), relevant government officials, media establishments, media experts, and a police spokesperson.
The report was handed over to the President of SLWJA Duminda Sampath at its office in Colombo 10 on 21 April 2023.
The establishment of an Independent Commission for the protection and promotion of Freedom of Expression in Sri Lanka is one of the recommendations the study has highlighted. This commission should function as the main platform for co-regulation of print, electronic, and social media and the members of such a co-regulatory body should include nominees by all key stakeholders.
The functions of such a commission would be, among other things, issuing licenses to media stations and registration of news publications, investigating alleged violence against journalists and providing legal protection to affected journalists, including prosecuting crimes against journalists, and providing a mediatory space, and establishing governance mechanisms for information regulation.
A Media Safety Fund for journalists could include state allocation of funds and/or passing necessary legislation to tax a portion of media advertising (including on social media platforms), or on turnover of media corporations above a certain threshold. The primary function of the Media Safety Fund is to provide journalists and media workers with insurance, for damages and injuries incurred as occupational hazards.