Repeal the anti-human, oppressive “Official Secrets Act” immediately!

Press release

September 29, 2022

 

Repeal the anti-human, oppressive “Official Secrets Act” immediately!

The government has issued a gazette notification naming a large area in Colombo city, government buildings, and jurisdictions as high-security zones. The Sri Lanka government was seriously accused of publishing this gazette by abusing the “Official Secrets Act”, which has not been used by any government in the recent past.

The gazette issued on September 23 said that the written permission of the police was to be obtained six hours in advance to hold any people’s march or public assembly within the designated “High-Security Zones”.

The police department has broad powers to arrest anyone who entered these zones, and those arrested can granted bail by only High Courts.  It is clear that the government is taking steps to use illegal force against people who stand up for peaceful assembly and freedom of expression with these severe restrictions.

World human rights organizations and many other organizations are forcing the government to withdraw these new regulations have been imposed as illegal restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

The Sri Lanka Bar Association has made a statement and said that the government is trying significantly curtailing the freedom of the citizens without any reasonable or legal basis. The Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission says that the basic rights of the people of the country are severely violate by this Act. It has been further suggested to the government withdraw this outdated law.

The Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions (FMETU), which joins hands with the world’s largest media organization, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), strongly urges the Sri Lankan government to withdraw this anti-human law immediately.

Yours Faithfully

Dhamasiri Lankapeli

General Secretary

077 364  1111

Empower young journalists to function effectively in the digital economy!

A representative group of 21 young male and female journalists from all districts and communities, spent a full day at an exciting and impactful program on 3rd September 2022.

The program was organised by the FMETU through the IFJ – UTU 2022 project. The purpose was to empower young journalists to function effectively in the digital economy. They were linked to senior journalists and made aware of their professional rights and responsibilities.

The full-day program featured interactive training on mobile journalism. The lead trainer was Dr. Sameera Thilakawardena, Ph.D., an expert in digital media. The participants learned a lot and had a lot of fun as they produced short videos.

The participants are expected to produce videos highlighting issues relating to journalists’ rights and the media industry.

FMETU is very grateful to Dr. Thilakawardena and the Rainbow Institute of Communication for all the support to make this event a resounding success.

More pictures of the program are down here.

Forward Stride in Safeguarding Sri Lankan Journalists’ Rights FMETU-IFJ-UTU 2022 Program

The Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions, FMETU is pleased to announce a major stride forward in its efforts to protect journalists’   rights and enhance professionalism amongst Journalists in Sri Lanka

This is facilitated by FMETU – IFJ (International Federation of Journalists) Union-to-Union program 2022.

The primary objective of the FJ-UTU 2022 program is to strengthen the professional rights of FMETU member journalists and media workers.  In this context, we are collecting information on the professional status of a representative sample of journalists, island-wide and presenting this information through an online database.

The project also facilitates us to empower young journalists by linking them with senior journalists and discussing with them about professional rights and responsibilities of journalists and the role of media trade unions. The young journalists are being empowered further by training them on mobile journalism and supporting them to produce 15 short videos on professional issues.

The IFJ-UTU support program for strengthening regional media organizations is managed annually by the IFJ Asia Pacific office. The main objective of the program is to equip members with the necessary knowledge and skills to play an effective role as a trade union in the new global digital economy. The program is designed to educate journalists and media workers in order to lobby and stand up for the basic professional rights of journalists.

FMETU kicked off the project to empower members with two webinars in the local languages, Sinhala and Tamil languages with the participation of 300 journalists from all over the country.

On September 3, the training on mobile journalism will be conducted through a full-day workshop. The lead resource person is Dr. Sameera Thilakawardena, Ph.D., a Communications expert, specializing in digital media and cinema.

After the training, 15 investigative videos on professional issues and challenges faced by journalists and media workers will be produced and shared through the fmetu.org website.

At the conclusion of the program, an analytical report on the professional issues and challenges of journalists will be released on the internet through fmetu.org. The Federation of Media Employees Trade Union also intends to present this report to the relevant Government authorities and lobby for critical changes.

The Secretary of the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions told fmetu.org that the primary objective of this program is to establish a group of professional journalists who are entitled to social security and other rights enjoyed by employees in Sri Lanka.

 

FMETU invites   journalists who are interested in joining the campaign to register their support by logging on to the link https://tinyurl.com/FMETU-PROFILE before 5 September 2022

 

 

Sri Lanka: Security forces attack journalists and unarmed protestors

22 July 2022
Sri Lanka: Security forces attack journalists and unarmed protestors

by IFJ
Sri Lankan security forces carried out a violent raid on the Galle Face protest site in Colombo on July 22, attacking and detaining journalists and unarmed protestors. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Sri Lankan affiliates, the Free Media Movement (FMM), the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions (FMETU) and the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA), strongly condemn the brutal attacks on the media and call on the new Sri Lankan government to end its assault on press freedom.

FMETU condemns the attack on the GoallFace peaceful protesters by using thousands of armed forces!

Press release

July 22, 2022

FMETU condemns the attack on the GoallFace peaceful protesters by using thousands of armed forces!

The Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions strongly condemned the horrible attack used by thousands of armed security forces on the peaceful protestors who were staying at the Galle Face struggle ground the last night has been condemned by all sections of the people who respect democracy. When the protesters were deciding to leave the premises of the President’s Secretariat, this terrible attack was made on the unarmed people who were on the ground of the strugglers and especially on the local and foreign journalists who were reporting there.

Currently, there is no information about several journalists who were reporting on the situation, and have they been arrested? or hospitalized due to assault? There are no government officials to provide any information, in this situation is clear proof of the horror of this attack by the government.

It is to be condemned that no one came forward to give an answer even though lawyers and journalists asked questions in this regard from the officials. This attack is a horrific anti-democratic attack that was carried out on the instructions of the government authorities within a few hours of the swearing-in of the new President of the country. This event confirms the best factor to measure the difference between the speech and actions of the new president of Sri Lanka. This terrible attack on freedom of speech by using emergency law should be strongly condemned by all people who are interested in democracy.

The Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions appeals to national and international media organizations, trade union movements, and civil society to intervene immediately to stop these undemocratic actions of the new president of Sri Lanka and government and to establish democracy in the country.

Sincerely.

Dharmasisr Lankapeli

General Secretary.

Strugglers breaking into media institutions is an action that should not happen!

Press release

July 13, 2022

Strugglers breaking into media institutions is an action that should not happen!

‍The Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions disapproves of the intervention of a delegation of strugglers to influence the media activities of those institutions by entering into the public and private television channels, in the last few days. “Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions” is a member organization of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), comprising 187 media organizations from 146 countries.

The behavior of public and private media institutions and their journalism, freedom of the journalists, independence of the Editorial Board, and the partiality of information that is brought closer to the people, is a situation that has been heavily criticized by us. To force such a situation to change through coercive, unilateral approaches is contrary to democratic principles as well as free media traditions. It must be said that the Sri Lanka Television Corporation was forcibly entered on the 13th and its programs were suspended and the views of those who pretended to be strugglers were broadcast live, which was a death blow to the traditions of free media.

The Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions struggling, with other media organizations to transform the state media as well as private media convert into the ‘Public Service Media’ concept with the aim of creating free media in the country for the past two decades. We must understand that these kinds of actions will create obstacles to the collective efforts of the people who have been oppressed by the anti-people actions of the government over the past decades, and to the struggle to win democracy.

It is worth noting that the Federation of Media Workers Trade Unions, which emphasizes that freedom of speech is a basic foundation of a democratic society, says that such actions are an obstacle to the struggles for social, economic, and political freedom. Our conference proposes to the whole society to combine the struggle of media organizations with the current optimal struggle to avoid such meaningless actions and establish a tradition of “Public Service Media”.

Thanking you,

Dharmasiri Lankapeli

General Secretary.

The brutal attack on journalists engaged in reporting near Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s residence!

Press release

July 10, 2022

 

The brutal attack on journalists engaged in reporting near  Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s residence!

Four journalists from Sirasa Media Network, two other journalists who came to rescue them, and a journalist from Derana Media Network were brutally assaulted by the police and police special task force soldiers who were engaged in reporting near the private residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. We, Joining together with the International Federation of Journalists, strongly condemns this brutal attack. In addition to this attack, it was reported that several journalists were assaulted and threatened by the security forces in the last few days during several incidents on the island.

These attacks, pressures, and threats are made against the basic right of the people to right know information and it is a violation of the fundamental human rights of the people. Our Federation strongly requests to the authorities including the Inspector General of Police that the law should seriously act strictly against these police officers who violated the basic human rights of the people.

Our Federation strongly believes that it is the responsibility of the Inspector General of Police to bring these officers, who are responsible for these cruel attacks and torture to justice. We recommend to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, which is bound by the responsibility to protect the basic human rights of the people and emphasize that it should intervene with responsibility regarding such incidents.

The Federation of Media Employees Trade Union strongly requests all the authorities to carry out immediate and comprehensive investigations regarding these attacks and influence and do justice to the journalists and to intervene responsibly to protect the basic right of the people to know information.

Thanking you,

 

Dharmasiri Lankapeli

General Secretary.

Free Assange now!

 

No jail for journalists

The IFJ is calling on the United States government to drop all charges against Julian Assange and allow him to return home.

On June 17, 2022, the United Kingdom approved Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States to face charges, primarily under the nation’s Espionage Act, for releasing US government records that revealed the US military committed war crimes against civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, including the killing of two Reuter’s journalists. If found guilty, Assange faces a jail term of up to 175 years.

The IFJ is gravely concerned about the impact of Assange’s continued detention on media freedom and the rights of all journalists globally. The US pursuit of Assange against the public’s right to know poses a grave threat to the fundamental tenets of democracy, which are becoming increasingly fragile worldwide. Irrespective of personal views on Assange, his extradition will have a chilling effect, with all journalists and media workers at risk.

The case sets a dangerous precedent that members of the media, in any country, can now be targeted by governments, anywhere in the world, to answer for publishing information in the public interest.

Wikileaks was awarded the Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism in 2011, an annual prize to reward excellence in Australian journalism, in recognition of the impact of WikiLeaks’ actions on public interest journalism by assisting whistle-blowers to tell their stories. Whistle-blowers have since been utilised by other media outlets to expose global tax avoidance schemes, among other stories.

The sentence of Chelsea Manning, who collaborated with Assange to release the contentious material, was commuted by President Barack Obama. None of WikiLeaks’ media partners have been charged in any US government legal proceeding because of their collaboration with Assange. Aside from the dire implications for press freedom, there is also no legal criterion for Assange’s extradition and charges.

The IFJ is calling on the United States government to drop all charges against Julian Assange and allow him to return home to be with his wife and children. The IFJ is also calling on all media unions, press freedom organisations and journalists to urge governments to actively work to secure Assange’s release. #FreeAssangeNOW

Thanks To

The newly elected members of the IFJ Executive Committee #IFJCongress2022

The 31st World Congress of the International Federation of Journalists was took place from May 31 until June 3 in Muscat, Oman. Over 250 participants representing journalists’ unions and associations from 92 countries will attend the Congress, with key themes including the surveillance of journalists and action to end impunity for crimes against media workers.
IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The IFJ has a strong history of international journalist federations across the world. The Asia Pacific region was the missing piece. We hope the Federation of Asia Pacific Journalists (FAPaJ) will be a strong platform for journalists and media workers in this diverse and important region.”
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries
Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram

President Dominique Pradalié

SNJ – France

 

 

Senior Vice President

 

 

Zuliana Lainez Otero

ANP – Peru

 

Vice-President s

 

 

Nasser Abu Baker / Sabina Inderjit              

PJS – Palestine/ Indian Journalists Union

 

Honorary-

Treasurer

 

 

Jim Boumelha

National Union of Journalists (NUJ)

Advisers Mohamed Al Araimi

OJA – Oman

 

Dhairan Almutairi

KJA – Kuwait

 

Maria José Braga

FENAJ – Brazil

 

 

Larry Goldbetter

NWU – USA

 

Adriana Hurtado

FECOLPER – Colombia

 

Mohamed Yassine Jelassi

SNJT – Tunisia

 

Joachim Kreibich

dju in verdi – Germany

 

 

 

Raffaele Lorusso

FNSI – Italy

 

Filemón Medina

Sindicato de Periodistas de Panama

 

Marion Medjo Obam

SNJC – Cameroon

 

Luis Menendez

FAPE – Spain

 

Jennifer Moreau

UNIFOR – Canada

 

Omar Faruk Osman

NUSOJ – Somalia

 

Adam Portelli

MEAA – Australia

 

Maria Luisa Rogério

SJA – Angola

 

Ali Youssef

ORLB – Lebanon

Reserve Advisers

  

Africa

 

1st

Eduardo Constantino

SNJ – Mozambique

2nd

Stephen Ouma Bwire

UJU – Uganda

 

Asia

 

Rashid Al Hamer

BJA – Bahrain

Mohammed Al Hammadi

JA – UAE

 

Europe

 

1st

Serhiy Shturkhetskyy

IMTUU – Ukraine

 

Latin America

 

1st

Jose Altagracia Guzman Beato

SNTP – Dominican Republic

2nd

Domingo Vargas

FENATRAMCO – Chile

 

Oceania

 

1st

Karen Percy

MEAA – Australia

2nd

Leigh Tonkin

MEAA – Australia

General Reserve Advisers

 

1st

Indira Priyadarshini Nawagamuwa

FMETU – Sri Lanka

2nd

Wanchi You

ATJ – Taiwan

 

 

Do you have questions? Call or visit us.

+(94) 773 641 111

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

info@fmetu.org

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