The announcement issued by the Federation of Media Workers Trade Unions explaining its position regarding the Anti-Terrorism Act to be presented and passed by the Government of Sri Lanka is given below in its entirety.

Press Release

2023 -04- 11

Let’s rally to defeat the ‘Anti-Terrorism Act’!

The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) introduced as a temporary legislation in 1979 has been in operation for more than forty-four years. The civilized world, human rights activists, civil society organizations both local and  foreign and international bodies including the United Nations have been clamoring throughout to show the inhumane nature of the PTA. Following the mounting pressure, the Sri Lankan government pledged to abolish the PTA and took action to bring about an Anti-Terrorism Act in place of the PTA.

This so-called Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) has provisions more draconian and tyrannical in nature compared to its predecessor PTA. The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has warned of the abuse of ATA provisions by the rulers to dub legitimate public protests as acts of terrorism.  The South Asia Director of the Asian Human Rights Watch has pointed out that the new anti-terrorism law prevents peaceful demonstrations and gives tyrannical powers to the government authorities to label the political dissent and arrest to detain them for long periods without giving them access to the judiciary.

The government has been compelled to put off the presenting of the ATA bill to Parliament due to vehement opposition by people, including lawyers’ organizations, civil organizations, trade unions, and media organizations.

We, the FMETU, call on all those who uphold the values of democracy and rule of law to rally against this government’s attempt to arm itself with oppressive powers against people.

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 join with them and urge the government to withdraw the draconian laws being introduced by the ATA.

Yours Sincerely


Dharmasiri Lankapeli

General Secretary.

077 364 1111