Let us stand against suppression against ‘Siyata’ media network and harassing Journalist Lal Hemanta Mavalage

Please see below the published full press statement against the suppression of the ‘Siyata’ media network and harassing Journalist Lal Hemanta Mavalage by the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions.

Press Release

2023 -03- 22

Let us stand against suppression against ‘Siyata’ media network and harassing Journalist Lal Hemanta Mavalage

The Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions strongly condemns the ongoing attempts to abuse parliamentary privileges to suppress the popular TV program ‘Televakiya’ and to intimidate its editor Lal Hemantha Mawalage, a veteran journalist attached to the Siyata Media Network. The Televakiya is a current affairs program that has become massively popular among TV audiences in recent times for its unafraid stance in criticizing the wrongdoings of the government. In return, the government is now trying to make use of the provisions in the Parliament Powers and Privileges Act to muzzle the media by summoning the journalists before Parliament Privileges Committee to question and institute legal actions against them. This highhanded action amounts to a serious threat against the freedom of expression.

Lal Hemantha Mawalage is a senior journalist who started his career in broadcasting at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation. Since his inception there on Dec 28, 2008 he worked hard to stand against unjust and corruption. Because of his work, he had once come under a brutal attack from Mervyn Silva, a cabinet minister of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. Mawalage had to flee the country to save his life in that instance. Up until now, there is no formal investigation into this to bring the culprits before justice.

We urge President Ranil Wickremesinghe to stop immediately the suppression of the media and journalists and remind him and his government that it is their duty to bring justice to the journalists who had been killed, maimed, and became victims of enforced disappearances in recent years. We, the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions, emphasize that freedom of speech is a foundation of a democratic society, and is a powerful value to social, economic, and political freedom.

The FMETU is a member organization of the International Federation of Journalists is the world’s most powerful media organization with a membership of more than 600,000 journalists from 146 countries, and 167 media organizations, and we jointly urge the government to stop immediately the attempts to make use of powers to parliament to gag journalists. We also call on people’s representatives in Parliament to oppose the government’s plans to punish the Siyata Televakiya, which stands for the traditional characteristics of Public Service Journalism.

Yours Sincerely,


Dharmasiri Lankapeli

General Secretary.

077 364 1111

Cambodia: Prime Minister shuts down independent media outlet

Law enforcement and ministry officials visited the offices of Voice of Democracy (VOD) on the morning of February 13 ordering journalists to stop publishing immediately. Sen instructed the Ministry of Information to cancel the outlet’s publishing and broadcasting licences, revoking its right to continue radio and online news services. Since the decision, VOD’s online Khmer and English services have been blocked by several internet service providers throughout the country.

On February 9, VOD released an article in Khmer that claimed Hun Sen’s son, Lieutenant General Hun Manet, had signed a donation of USD 100,000 for earthquake relief in Türkiye under his father’s name. Hun Manet, the head of Cambodia’s military, disputed the claim, and urged the outlet via social media to provide sources for their article. On February 11, Sen demanded a public apology from the outlet within 72 hours, later shortening the deadline to 10 am on February 13. Despite receiving an official, apologetic letter from the Cambodian Centre for Independent Media, VOD’s parent company, Sen ordered the revocation of the licence.

The decision has been condemned by media rights and civil society organisations, who denounced the arbitrary and likely politically motivated closure of VOD. In a group statement, press freedom advocates identified how existing measures to remove or alter disputed publications already exist in Cambodia’s Press Law, and urged the government to speak out against harmful and sexist language directed towards the author of the article.

The Cambodian government has previously targeted critical and independent news outlets ahead of the 2018 election, including the shuttering of Cambodia Daily in 2017, and the coerced 2018 sale of the Phnom Penh Post to a business associate of Hun Sen.
The CamboJA said: “No journalist should ever be attacked as a result of their work or identity. We hope the government acknowledges the essential role of VOD and its journalists, along with the remaining independent media outlets in the country, and their right to do their work in accordance with the law and without fear of intimidation and harassment”

The IFJ said: “Hun Sen’s order to shutdown VOD represents an serious misuse of power and poses a severe threat to press freedom in Cambodia. The IFJ urges the Cambodian government to reverse its decision to shutter VOD and ensure the outlet is able to continue to produce independent and critical journalism without fear of reprisal.”

IFJ Reports

Jaffna Cultural Center dedicated to the people

The iconic Jaffna Cultural Center (JCC), which was built with grant assistance of Government of India (GOI), was dedicated to the people on 11 February 2023 at a colourful event in the gracious presence of President of Sri Lanka H.E Ranil Wickremesinghe, Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying and Information & Broadcasting, GOI Dr. L. Murugan, High Commissioner of India Gopal Baglay, Hon. Douglas Devananda, Minister for Fisheries, Hon. Vidura Wickramanayake, Minister for Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, Hon. Kadar Masthan, Minister of State for Rural Economy, several Parliamentarians and dignitaries from various walks of life.

India: Maharashtra journalist targeted in hit and run


Maharashtra-based journalist Shashikant Warishe has been killed by a local realty broker hours after releasing a report alleging the broker had engaged in illegal land grabbing and was connected to senior Indian politicians. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly condemns this brutal killing of a journalist for their reporting and urges the authorities to bring all perpetrators to swift justice.



The IFJ Regional Fact Checking Forum will bring together fact-checkers and fact-checking experts from Asia to discuss the status and challenges of fact-checking in the region. This forum will see speakers from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal and Sri Lanka sharing country-specific approaches, experiences and lessons learnt in fact checking and how journalism can play a role to promote this. The discussion aims to provide opportunities for participants from other nations to share their experiences and initiatives. The forum will outline best practices in fact checking and recommendations for a way forward to combat misinformation effectively.

Presenting a survey report on professional journalists and 15 video clips about their professional status!

With the guidance and support of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) under the IFJ-Union to Union (UTU) Global Union program, the Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Unions conducted one unique research about the professional status of journalists and the challenges.

Jaffna District Journalist, Kandasami Selvakumar presented 16 videos showing survey reports and professional issues of journalists to the Minister of Labor and Foreign Employment Mr. Manusha Nanayakkara at the Ministry of Labor.

On that occasion, the Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, R. P. Wimalaweera, Labor Commissioner General Advocate Prabhath Chandrakirthi, General Secretary of the Federation of Media Employees Trade Union, Dharmasiri Lankapeli, President Krishni Irfam, National Organizer Douglas Nanayakkara, Executive Committee, and a large number of district leaders of Federation also participated.

Addressing the journalists here, the Labor Minister Mr. Manusha Nanayakkara stated that whether they work on piece rate, contract, or freelance, it should be a policy to protect the professional security of all those. He recalled that as the Ministry of Labor, he is bound to serve in this way, and while presenting the budget speech in Parliament, the President paid special attention to the need to enact labor legislation to include contract and part-time workers.

Further, addressing the gathering of journalists, he stated that he does not expect to delay the labor legislation for months and years. I am taking relevant steps to formulate the necessary rules and regulations as soon as possible to protect the workers and entrepreneurs.  The labor ministry will complete the whole legal framework before the end of 2023, the further minister said.

Plight of Professional Journalists in Sri Lanka revealed !

Press release- November 27, 2022 

The plight of Professional Journalists in Sri Lanka revealed

The survey reveals that Journalism is the only profession in Sri Lanka where the majority of employees are denied their basic professional rights.

A report was released on the professional status of journalists in Sri Lanka and the challenges they face.  The report was compiled by the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions, FMETU through an all-island survey of journalists conducted during the latter part of 2022, under the IFJ-Union to Union (UTU) Global Union program, with the guidance and support of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ),

The survey was tailored to identify key challenges faced by journalists in Sri Lanka. An online Google application form was used to collect the data of the journalists. The main expectation of this research was to gather information on each individual journalist. Areas covered include training, adherence to local labour regulations, facilities, and work-related pressure. A representative sample of    340 mainstream and regional Sinhala, Tamil, and English language media professionals participated in the survey and furnished data that was used for the preparation of the report covering journalists from all districts of Sri Lanka.

To illustrate further the findings of the survey, young journalists were provided training on digital media and supported to produce videos on the professional status of Journalists in Sri Lanka.   Using the skills they developed through the training, 15 videos focusing on the media industry and the professional issues of journalists were produced by young journalists. The videos were produced in Sinhala, Tamil, and English.

The complete survey report, 15 videos, and details about the journalists who participated in the survey have been published on the FMETU website https://fmetu.org/?page_id=9839.

The survey brought to light some salient facts related to journalists and the media industry. According to the survey,  it has been revealed that 59% of the journalists working in Sri Lankan media organizations do not receive their salaries on a specified date. It has been revealed that 91% of journalists do not receive any special allowance. 92% of the journalists who participated have maintained that the current remuneration they receive is not sufficient in relation to their professional credentials and work carried out as professional journalists.

Currently, 26% of the journalists working in the media industry are under the age of 35. About 31% are between the ages of 35 and 45, and 25% are between the ages of 45 and 55. 16% of journalists are over the age of   55 years.

Most of these journalists have got through the GCE Advanced level examination.  In terms of percentage, it is 36%. Also, 19% have studied up to GCE O Level and 28% are  Diploma holders.  9% of the journalists have university degrees.

According to this report, the percentage of journalists in different languages are as follows:  65.2%,  Sinhala language media, 34.3%,  Tamil media, and 10.5%,  English media

Out of these, 53.3% work in print media, 47.9% in television, 27.8% in radio, and 27.5% in digital media. It is noteworthy that  90% of them are full-time media professionals. In addition, this survey has revealed that 18% of them have not received any formal training in journalism.

1% of these journalists are employed on a permanent basis.  Out of these,  only, 14% of them have prospects of a promotion scheme.  About 52% of journalists are employed on a piece-rate basis and another 26% are employed on a contract basis. Moreover, it has been confirmed that about 86% of journalists have no promotional prospects.

This survey has also revealed more than 80% of journalists who serve print, electronic, and digital media institutions are not officially entitled to annual salary increments, benefits of the Employees’ Provident Fund, or the Employees’ Trust Fund, service gratuities, and bonuses that are enjoyed by employees in most other sectors.

According to this report, 66.8 % of journalists have received appointment letters from their employers. There are 31.2% of journalists without appointment letters.  It has been found out that the letter of renewal of service is considered by them to be the letter of appointment. 78.2% of the journalists have a media identification card and 21.8% do not have an identification card.

About 68% stated that whilst working under such low conditions, there have been numerous instances where they have suffered professionally. 77% of journalists stated that they do not have adequate security while pursuing their media careers. 16.4% of the victims of violence are based on gender.

Under such a situation, 98% of them are of the opinion that they should organize themselves in order to improve their working conditions. Also, 95% have accepted that national and international support is needed for them to get better working conditions.

188 journalists involved in the print media participated in this survey,  with  53.3%. The percentage of journalists who have participated from the television media is 47.9%,  That is, 169,  98 radio Journalists, and 97 digital journalists. In terms of percentage, it is 27.8% and 27.5% respectively.

The survey report explains that among the professions in Sri Lanka, the media profession is the only profession where the vast majority of employees have been denied their basic professional rights.

This survey report makes it clear that the label of the fourth estate of the country, the watchdog of the nation, etc are mere terms and do not apply in reality to Sri Lankan Journalists.

The FMETU acknowledges with gratitude the young journalists, women journalists, and media colleagues all over the country, who supported this exercise by providing information and producing videos.

FMETU also thanks those who supported the implementation of the IFJ-Union to Union (UTU) Global Union program and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)  which has continued to provide FMETU and Sri Lankan media with invaluable guidance and help.

Dharmasisr Lankapeli                                                                                     

General Secretary

on behalf of The Executive committee.

 077 364 1111

“Plight of Professional Journalism in Sri Lanka”-UTU project Press Conference

Under the guidance and support of the IFJ-International Federation of journalists, FMETU conducted a Union to Union project with the participation of more than 350 journalists around the country. It was held in different methods such as introducing a google form to collect data on the journalists and create a Database, conducting a workshop for young journalists about Mobile journalism and they made 15 videos that reviewed the Professionalism and the rights of journalists through these videos. On the 1st of December 2022, a press conference was held at the Rainbow Institute to release the said report to the media.

“Orange the world: Unite to end violence against women!”

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent, and devastating human rights violations in our world today and remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma, and shame surrounding it.

In general terms, it manifests itself in physical, sexual, and psychological forms, encompassing: intimate partner violence (battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide); sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber- harassment); human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation); female genital mutilation; and child marriage.

To further clarify, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable – for instance, young girls and older women, women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex, migrants and refugees, indigenous women and ethnic minorities, or women and girls living with HIV and disabilities, and those living through humanitarian crises.

In support of a global campaign and to contribute locally to end Gender Based Violence in Sri Lanka, the embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has decided to host a roundtable discussion to discuss Gender and Media issues in Sri Lanka. The meeting will be held on 1st December 2022, at Gallery Cafe with participation by female editors, members of the parliamentary women’s caucus, and representatives of the media organizations in Sri Lanka.

Plight of Professional Journalists in Sri Lanka revealed


The General Secretary of the Federation of Media Workers Trade Unions Mr. Dharmasiri Lankapeli and the Deputy General Secretary Mrs. Indira Navagamuwa held a discussion with the Minister of Labor and Foreign Employment Mr. Manusha Nanayakkara on November 22, 2022, at the Ministry, which revealed the sad working conditions of professional journalists in Sri Lanka.

The Federation of Media Employees Unions explained in this discussion that journalism is the only profession that does not have the basic professional rights that the majority of professional journalists in Sri Lanka should have.

A report compiled a unique exploration of the professional status of journalists and the challenges faced by the media industry by the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions The matter was clarified to the minister.

The IFJ-Union to Union (UTU) Global Union program with the guidance and support of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) organized this program.

The Minister also agreed to hold a broad discussion on the professional issues faced by journalists and the challenges faced by the media industry on December 13 with a large representation of journalists.


Do you have questions? Call or visit us.

+(94) 773 641 111

#30, Amarasekara Mawatha, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka.



Get latest news & update

Connect With Us

© 2021 – FMETU. All rights reserved.

Carefully crafted by Ceyber Ceylon