We as FMETU issued a statement on the incident of ITN senior journalist Ms. Ishara Dewendra. You can read the full statement below.
April 24, 2023
Do justice to journalist Ms. Ishara Devendra!
Ms. Ishara Devendra, a senior journalist of the Independent Television Network (ITN), posted on her Facebook page and said that she had to face various sexual harassment from an institution head on a regular basis. As a journalist, the Federation of Media Employees Tarde Unions strongly appreciates her bravery and the steps she took to expose this barbaric act without fear.
It has been said that although she complained about this to the responsible people including the Chairman of the ITN with evidence, none of the responsible people paid attention to her, so she decided to leave the service to protect her self-respect. She has further said that there is an environment in the institution where women constantly face such harassment.
It is a common tragedy in our country that such persons get political protection and live in freely those institutions by committing sexual violence against women. Therefore, the country’s political leadership should conduct a formal investigation into this incident. Violence against women and sexual harassment is a serious offenses under the Penal Code in Sri Lanka. This incident, the free conduct of such persons by doing such activities, is another occasion that reveals the weaknesses in the governance of our country.
We note that it is the responsibility of the heads of media organizations to create the environment necessary for especially women journalists to carry out their media work freely without harassment in their newsrooms. In addition, together with the International Federation of Journalists, we urge the authorities to do justice to Ms. Ishara Devendra and conduct a proper investigation into this act, which could not be tolerated by a civilized society. The International Federation of Journalists is the world’s most powerful media organization with over 600,000 members from 167 media organizations in 146 countries.