Julian Assange’s Freedom: Another Victory in the Global Fight for Press Freedom!

2024/06/25 Press Release:

Julian Assange’s Freedom: Another Victory in the Global Fight for Press Freedom!

The Federation of Media Employees’ Unions considers the release of journalist Julian Assange, who was effectively detained for 14 years, and his opportunity to return to his home country to live a normal life, another decisive victory in the global fight for media freedom.

The Executive Council of the International Federation of Journalists met in London last week and discussed the case of journalist Julian Assange. The Federation points out that by removing 17 of the 18 charges against Julian Assange, the American government has avoided setting a precedent that could have established journalism as a criminal offense.

IFJ President Dominique Pradalié said: “Julian Assange is free. Victory for the right to inform and to be informed. Victory for journalists around the world.”

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said “The attempted prosecution of Julian Assange cast a dark shadow over journalists, particularly those who cover national security issues. Had Assange gone to prison for the rest of his life, any reporter handed a classified document would fear facing a similar fate.”

In 2010, WikiLeaks revealed evidence of war crimes committed by the US military in Iraq. Since then, it has worked to disclose sensitive information related to various events, including the war in Afghanistan. The struggle for press freedom regarding Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for more than a decade demonstrates the risks faced by journalists. The Federation of Media Employees’ Unions strongly emphasizes the need for journalists worldwide to organize collectively to protect their rights and win such battles.

Dharmasiri Lankape                                  Tharindu Uduwaragedara

General Secretary                                                  National Organizer

077 364 1111                                                          076 434 1621

Journalist Tharindu Uduvaragedara has filed a fundamental rights petition.

Journalist Tharindu Uduvaragedara has filed a fundamental rights petition against the Sri Lankan police against forcibly arresting, assaulting, and detaining in the police cell without treatment while returning home after reporting a protest.

He, who is currently working as the National Organizer of the Federation of Media Workers’ Unions as well as the editor of the Whatnews website, had filed the fundamental rights petition on June 12th.

Enhancing union leadership and organising skills – Sri Lanka.

Unions are a vital guarantor of human rights! Union leaders from the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA), the Free Media Movement (FMM)the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions (FMETU), and the Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) attended an IFJ-run Union Leadership and Organising Training of Trainers (ToT) from 26 to 30 May at Kithul Kanda, Padukka, out of Colombo City, Sri Lanka.

The training, attended by 16 representatives is designed to build effective leadership and campaigning strategies when organising for power and will be followed by further training sessions run by attendees.

The Norsk Journalistlag and Union To Union supported and funded this activity.  This workshop was made possible and Organised by IFJ Asia Pacific.


IDAHOBIT: No comrade left behind

On the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Council of Global Unions to reaffirm its commitment to building respect and dignity for all workers, including LGBTI+ comrades.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), celebrated on 17 May, is an opportunity for the trade union movement across the globe to (re)affirm our commitment to solidarity with LGBTI+ people and communities increasingly under siege. No comrade should be left behind in our fight for equality, justice and freedom for all.

FMETU join World Solidarity Day against the killing of Palestinian journalists by Israel!

The International Federation of Journalists and its affiliated media organizations declared February 26 as World Solidarity Day to protest the killing of Palestinian journalists and civilians by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. “Stop Israel’s Genocide of Journalists and Civilians Immediately!” This Palestine Solidarity Day was announced under the slogan.

To safeguard free speech that free immediately Julian Assange is and that drop all charges against him.

Ms. Elizabeth M. Allen, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, State Department of the United States of America, visited Sri Lanka and delivered a speech on “Global Media Space and Its Impact on Democracy” followed by an engaged panel discussion organized by the Sri Lanka Press Institutes.

In that discussion, Dharmasiri Lankapeli, General Secretary of the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions Sri Lanka, raised a question as follows from her.

“The International Federation of Journalists has organized a worldwide protest campaign these days with its affiliates to pressure the US government to release Julian Assange and drop all charges. They say that this is a serious issue and affects the freedom of expression in the world. We as journalists worldwide believe it is also part of freedom of Expression. What do you think?”

The answer given by Ms. Elizabeth M. Allen can be watched in below attached video.

War in Gaza: Journalists are under attack!

Since the beginning of the war in Gaza, at least 67 journalists and media workers have been killed, several have been injured and others are missing. 

The full report issued by the IFJ is below.

In the early hours of 7 October, Hamas launched a horrific, unprecedented attack in southern Israel. In response, Israel retaliated with airstrikes over the besieged Gaza Strip and formally declared war on Hamas. On the night of 13 October, the Israeli army instructed more than one million Palestinians in the north of the Gaza Strip to move to the south of the territory, in anticipation of bombing and possible invasion. The loss of life on both sides is already tragic. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has concern for the welfare of civilians and journalists alike.

FMETU condemn the assault and arrest of journalist Dineth Kumara!

It is reported that Sri Lanka Television Corporation’s Kuliapitiya Regional Correspondent Mr. Dineth Kumara was reporting a news story from the Bingiriya Police when the relevant police officers questioned him, assaulted him damaged his camera equipment and arrested the journalist, and imprisoned him. See FMETU’s full statement below against this unlawful incident.


Sri Lanka Journalism-Towards Rights with Responsibilities- IFJ-UTU 2023 Challenges and Way Forward for Journalists highlighted by FMETU.

Challenges faced by Journalists in Sri Lanka today and the way forward were discussed at an all-island meeting of the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions.

This meeting was the final activity organized by FMETU under the International Federation of Journalists, Union to Union, 2023 program.  The event took place online on 23 November 2023.

The program this year focused on creating greater awareness amongst journalists on the rights and responsibilities of Sri Lankan Journalists and strengthening the FMETU as a united body. A strategic plan for 2024/ 25 was designed with the collective participation of FMETU members from all districts.


The keynote address at the meeting to discuss the challenges and way forward, titled “2024-25-  FMETU Future Plans and Duties, Responsibilities of Journalists”,  was delivered by a leading activist of the Young Journalist Association, Tharindu Udawaragedara. He explained at length the “Strategic Engagement Plan 2024-25” and explained the responsibilities assigned to the members.  The presentation was followed by a lively discussion amongst the participants.

Members then provided their input for prioritization of issues identified in the strategic plan. Over 100 journalists provided input through a Google form designed for this purpose.

The FMETU 9th National Delegates Conference was also held concurrently with this event.

The delegates conference was conducted under the leadership of Indira Navagamuwa who was elected as the pro temp chair.

The past Delegate Conference report was presented by Dharmasiri Lankapeli. After the Secretary presented the annual report.

The new office Bearers for the two years 2024-25 were proposed and elected.  Nine members were elected to the Board and sixteen were elected to the executive council. The entire executive board consists of twenty- five members. The Assembly unanimously approved the 2021-22 audit report presented by the Treasurer, Rizwan Segu Mohideen. The program concluded with the delivery of the vote of thanks by the General Secretary, Lankapeli.

FMETU, 26 November, 2023



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