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

Opportunities to challenge impunity for crimes against journalists in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has an unfortunate history of impunity for crimes against journalists and media workers. The actions of the Rajapaksa family and the government crackdown during Sri Lanka’s ongoing social unrest require action. Media and press freedom organisations in Sri Lanka should take advantage of international action and social momentum to challenge impunity, writes Ruki Fernando

 Many journalists have been killed and subjected to enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka, with the Jayewardene-Premadasa-led UNP governments of 1977-1994 and the Rajapaksa-led UPFA government of 2006-2014 committing grave media rights violations across their regimes. Across several governments, journalists and media workers have faced arrest, detainment assault, threats, intimidation, and harassment. Media outlets have been subjected to arson and legal crackdowns, with the English-language weekend paper Sunday Leader and Tamil-language newspaper Uthayan being among the worst affected. Impunity has reigned for all these.

Crimes against journalists continue to the present. in October 2020, Shanmugam Thavaseelan and Kanapathipillai Kumanan were assaulted when they were covering illegal deforestation in the highly militarized Mullaitheevu district. Though some arrests were made, suspects were quickly released on bail and two years later, no one has been held accountable.

In July 2021, Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police, Deshabandu Tennakoon, threatened prominent investigative journalist Tharindu Jayawardena through Facebook comments (including implied death threats) after a report about him was published. Despite a formal complaint to the Inspector General of Police, there have been no proper investigations and Tennakoon has not been held accountable to date.

This year, journalists covering protests have also faced reprisals. An investigation was ordered into MTV networks, a popular private television channel. The investigation aimed to blame the channel’s live broadcast of a major protest outside the then-president’s house for the violence that occurred. A group of journalists from the same private channel were beaten by Special Task Force (STF) police officers on July 9 2022, while covering a major protest outside the Prime Minister’s residence.

One of those beaten up and injured was Waruna Sampath, who was also one of the two journalists beaten up and injured in August 2008, by then Minister Mervyn Silva and a group of goons. Waruna had courageously filed Fundamental Rights petitions concerning both incidents. While the Supreme Court awarded him compensation for the 2008 incident, his Fundamental Rights petition for the 2022 incident has been postponed until next year. No one has been held legally accountable for either the 2008 or 2022 incidents, despite both incidents happening in front of police, media cameras, and thousands of people.

Many journalists fear challenging impunity, and have subjected themselves to self-censorship or fled into exile. More are likely to follow.

Protests and International Developments

This year, an unprecedented economic crisis led to a historic series of protests that toppled the racist, corrupt and authoritarian Rajapaksa ruling family who were known to crack down on dissent. The Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA) placed huge billboards of murdered, tortured and disappeared journalists on the fence of the Presidential Secretariat, the most prominent protest site in the country. The billboards were removed and destroyed but were quickly re-installed. During the protests, ordinary citizens also demonstrated by holding smaller placards in remembrance of murdered and disappeared journalists and demanding justice.

The protests coincided with significant international developments to address impunity in Sri Lanka. In 2021, the Permanent People’s Tribunal in The Hague held hearings into the murder of The Sunday Leader journalist and editor Lasantha Wickrematunge. The hearing was based on an indictment presented by a coalition of international press freedom organizations and analysed the greater context of impunity for crimes against journalists and found Lasantha’s murder was one incident in systemic attacks on journalists and media workers during the civil war.

Forty-four names of journalists and media workers killed or disappeared between 2004 to 2010, the majority of whom are Tamils, were read out by Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka while acknowledging there had been many more killed and disappeared before that. The tribunal judgement noted that the Sri Lankan government, through their lack of investigations, lack of reparations to victims, and impunity for crimes against journalists, was guilty of grave violations of the human rights of Lasantha Wickrematunge, specifically the right to life, the right to freedom of expression, the right to an effective remedy and the right to freedom from discrimination based on political opinion, covering articles 6, 19, 2 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Hague Tribunal hearings follow other international initiatives to seek justice for Lasantha’s murder. In 2019, the Center for Justice and Accountability filed a civil suit in the United States against former Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa and former president Mahinda Rajapaksa for their alleged involvement in his killing. In 2021, Lasantha’s daughter Ahimsa Wickrematunge filed a complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR).

There is also a pending complaint at the United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID) on disappeared journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda. In November 2021, The UNWGEID wrote to the Sri Lankan government about reprisals faced by his wife Sandya Ekneligoda in her efforts to challenge impunity. Last month, she spoke at the United Nations Committee against Enforced Disappearances.

Impunity for serious crimes against journalists has featured prominently in UNHCR Commissioner reports to the Human Rights Council. Last month, the UNHCR voted on a resolution on Sri Lanka that decided to continue the evidence-gathering process related to crimes in Sri Lanka and support prosecutions. This could include serious crimes against journalists.

Judicial Processes in Sri Lanka

These international initiatives have become significant as entrenched impunity has served as a license for continuing crimes and violence against journalists. Not a single person has been convicted for serious crimes against journalists and only two cases have reached the prosecution stage. In one of them, the murder of journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan in Jaffna in October 2000, media reported that the Attorney General had instructed the courts not to continue the case against the suspects last year.

The case of journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda’s disappearance in January 2010 also failed to materialise. After a courageous and determined campaign by his wife Sandya Ekneligoda, several army personnel was arrested, and indictments were filed against the nine accused. Most of the case’s progress was made under the Sirisena government, but the return to power of the Rajapaksa family in November 2019 presented new obstacles with the Rajapaksa government pledging not to prosecute ‘war heroes’, military personnel. A top investigator on the case went into exile and the chief overseeing the investigations was arrested and detained, before being released on bail by a higher court and going into retirement.

Opportunities for Media Freedom Organisations

Though primarily driven by Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, protesters on the streets of Colombo have been insisting on radical long-term institutional reform. This has provided fresh momentum to push for an independent and effective criminal justice system with independent and professional law enforcement, prosecutors, and judiciary.

For decades, media freedom organizations in Sri Lanka have been campaigning against impunity. Though they often demand criminal accountability through judicial processes and international involvement, their work in the judicial sphere and internationally has been limited. There were no strong interventions concerning the Hague Tribunal or the various UN initiatives to address impunity in Sri Lanka. There has been very little legal assistance offered to the survivors of crimes or the families of victims who can wait for years for justice and compensation.

The judicial system offers opportunities to challenge impunity, such as filing writs, Fundamental Rights cases and intervening in ongoing cases. A writ filed by a former prisoner and rights activist led to a landmark prosecution and conviction of a senior prison official involved in a prison massacre. Systematic trial observations and advocacy in significant court cases would also be important in addressing impunity. None of these options have been explored meaningfully by media freedom organisations in Sri Lanka.

In the last few months, leaders of the Young Journalists Association (YJA) have filed court cases at a Magistrate Court and Fundamental Rights case at the Supreme Court to address impunity relating to freedom of expression and assembly violations by the police. YJA has also challenged impunity for crimes against free expression through their lodging of complaints to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka about demonstrations in Sri Lanka. Their activism, along with some families of victims such as Sandya Ekneligoda and Ahimsa Wickramatunge, have been inspiring in the greater action against impunity.

This year of crisis, uncertainty, and hope could also become a turning point to challenge impunity for crimes against journalists. Innovation, creativity, consistency, commitment, and courage from local media freedom organizations, especially in the judicial and international spheres could be vital in challenging impunity.

Copied from November issue of

Ruki Fernando is a Sri Lankan journalist and has been involved in human rights activism and social justice advocacy since 1997.   

Videos on journalist’s issues in Sri Lanka

Winners of the video production component of the digital media training for young journalists organized by the  Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions and the International Federation of Journalists support by the IFJ-UTU 2022 project of strengthening Journalist unions in the world. The member journalists of FMETU  produced videos highlighting professional and rights-based issues facing journalists in Sri Lanka.

Picture showing First Class Award Winners, Upper Second Class Award  Winners, and Second Class Award Winners.
Anyone  can log in to follow the videos
https://fmetu.org/?page_id=9839

Hong Kong: Media tycoon Jimmy Lai convicted of fraud – IFJ statement

In the latest targeted prosecution of Jimmy Lai by Hong Kong authorities, the media tycoon and founder of Apply Daily was convicted of fraud on October 25 after a court found he violated the terms of a lease. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the court’s verdict and the ongoing persecution of Lai and calls for his immediate release from prison.

Jimmy Lai (C), who was convicted of fraud on October 25, looks on as activists demonstrate outside court on November 3, 2020. Credit: Peter Parks / AFP

 District Court Judge Stanley Chan Kwong-chi found Lai had concealed the fact that he was subletting part of his newspaper’s office headquarters to a secretarial firm, also owned by Lai, between 2016 and 2020, violating agreements with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp. The judge added that he did not believe Lai had forgotten the firm was occupying the space.

Wong Wai-keung, Lai’s former colleague, was also convicted of fraud, while a former senior executive of Next Digital, Royston Chow, evaded criminal liability by making a deal with the prosecution.

Lai is also facing charges of collusion with foreign powers under Hong Kong’s national security law and is due to stand trial on December 1st. According to Caoilfhionn Gallagher, who leads the international legal team for Lai, this latest verdict means that Lai will “be a convicted prisoner going into his national security law trial.”

Lai has faced repeated arrests and prosecutions for his pro-democracy activism and criticism of the Chinese Communist Party’s encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy. He was arrested following a crackdown on pro-democracy protests in 2019 and is currently serving a 20-month sentence for his role in organising unauthorised demonstrations against police brutality.

Lai’s lawyers are urging the United Nations to investigate his imprisonment and various criminal charges on the basis that it represents “legal harassment.”

On October 14, the IFJ released its 2022 report on freedom of expression in Hong Kong, expressing deep concern at the nation’s gutting of independent media and press freedom. The IFJ called on governments internationally to maintain vigilance in condemning the actions of the Hong Kong and Chinese governments and urging for respect for Hong Kong’s Basic Law obligations and press freedom.

The IFJ said: “The District Court’s verdict to convict Jimmy Lai on fraud charges sets a grave precedent for his upcoming trial under the draconian national security law. The Hong Kong authorities’ ongoing arbitrary persecution of Lai violates fundamental rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The IFJ urges the authorities to withdraw all charges laid against Lai immediately and release him from prison.”

For further information, contact IFJ Asia – Pacific at ifj@ifj-asia.org 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram

100 years to BBC (BBC) ………. We, who served you as journalists, are helpless today!

By Kanthale, R. G. Dharmadasa

One day, about twenty-three years ago, a good message was given to me, by one of my friends Ms. Vishaka Jayasekara to me, who served as a Trincomalee correspondent to  Lankadepa.

“Comrade! The BBC is looking for a reporter for the Trincomalee district. Brother Elmo told me this story to me. They are looking for someone who is involved in reporting in the midst of difficulties.  I told him about you. What do you think to say to them?”

I did not want to say “good at once” to Vishaka’s proposal. Because she was already giving news to the BBC.

What is your idea, sister? I asked her.

Her reply was that both of us should work together. I agreed to the proposal. That is how I got involved with the BBC. However, was getting news for BBC only from me. Even today, I humbly say that I joined BBC because of that sister Vishaka. I do not know where she is now.

I decided to make up my mind to say goodbye to the ‘ Lakbima’ newspaper, which I loved dearly, due to joining the BBC. It is more difficult to provide news to the BBC, an international media institution, than writing to a Sri Lankan newspaper. I understood that while working with BBC.

Reporting war, especially from a battlefield, is not an easy task. The situation became more dangerous in the background of allegations that the BBC was a media institution engaged in propaganda in favor of the Tigers. We had to be careful of all armed gangs and forces.

Somehow, we faced challenges and revealed the truth to the whole world. Not only war reporting but also various interesting features were among our topics.

Our media colleagues were Dinasena Ratugamage from Vavuniya, Wasantha Chandrapala from Ampara, Taxila Dilrukshi Jayasena from Polonnaruwa, Shanti Selvadore from Batticaloa, Ajith Shantalal Udaya from Ratnapura, KS Udayakumara from Colombo, Prashad Purnamal Jayamaha from Halawatha, Gnanasiri Kottigoda from Colombo. Meanwhile, BBC Tamil Ose journalists were also our close friends. It is difficult to remember their names. Sorry. Later Colombo BBC reporter Azam Amin also joined us. Mr. Elmo Fernando was the pilot of all of us. There is almost no memory without him.

Mr. Priyat Liyanage, whom we all love, was the head of the BBC Sinhala section broadcast from London. Talented journalists such as Chandana Keerthi Bandara, Upali Gajanayake, Vimalasena Hevage, Indira Ramanayake, MJR David, and several others belonged to Mr. Priyat’s staff. At that time, twenty-one lakh people worldwide listened to the BBC Sinhala service.

The BBC World Service celebrated its recent hundred centenary. So many good things happened to hear. However, there is not a single word was heard about Priyath Liyanage and Elmo Fernando, who gave life to the BBC Sinhala Service. Of course, there was no shortage of some prideful people’s stories without them.

So what about poor journalists like us in Sri Lanka? We do not like to speak out about braggarts.

I would like to talk about only the injustice done to the reporters of the BBC World Service in Sri Lanka in the past.

BBC World Service is undisputedly one of the number one media institutions in terms of popularity and recognition with a large number of subscribers whole over the world. Great Britten hosts it. The amount of resources spent on training journalists associated with their institution is also unlimited.

The same training was given to the journalists who work in Sri Lanka with BBC.

BBC issued a special identity card and the Information Department of Sri Lanka issued another identity card to foreign journalists. Meanwhile, we received an agreement that was renewed every year. We do not know whether the British government knows about these or not. But we know one thing. In other words, we know that the British government does not know that the journalists of Sri Lanka who risked their lives for twenty or twenty-five years and worked for the BBC have been removed without giving a cent.

During the Second World War, Sri Lanka was under the British Empire. There, Britain recruited tens of thousands of Sri Lankans to serve in their Royal Army. Immediately end of the war, they were all retired with a full pension until death.

We believe that the British government still does not know that a group of Sri Lankan journalists served one of the popular media institutions BBC in their country.

I declare with the utmost responsibility that Sangeet Kalubowila, who became the head of the BBC Sinhala Division after Mr. Priyath, did this to us. Our problems were not important and important to him was his cruel administration.

Finally, we are happy, about the centenary of the BBC World Service.  In addition, those who gave services to you as journalists are living a miserable fate and would like to tell the BBC administration.

The sad story of R. G. Dharmadasa!

For further details of FMETU..

Journalists Organizations adopt new approaches for Professional Growth in Digital Era

Press Release

Colombo
16 October 2022

Journalists Organizations adopt new approaches for Professional Growth in Digital Era

A series of programs were successfully concluded recently to enhance the professionalism of the media industry in Sri Lanka and focus attention on the professional rights of journalists in Sri Lanka. This was carried out by the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions, FMETU, with the guidance and support of the International Federation of Journalists, IFJ, through the IFJ Union to Union project, 2022.

The key objective of this programme was to empower young journalists to understand their professional rights and responsibilities and function effectively in the digital era. The FMETU supported young journalists from all the provinces in Sri Lanka to identify the challenges that they are faced with in practicing their profession, especially in relation to organizing themselves as a collective body through unionism. The journalists were guided to look at practical and creative ways to overcome these challenges.

FMETU maintains that in the context of the digital era, media organizations are obliged to equip young journalists with modern skills to enter the media industry, experience professional growth, and retain them in the digital era.

In this context, FMETU carried out discussions with 200 Journalists Island –wide. The discussions centered on their rights and how they can obtain their rights through the collective efforts of media trade unions. These discussions were carried out in the Sinhala and Tamil languages. 140 journalists participated in the Sinhala medium and 60 participated in the Tamil medium discussions.

The second stage of this program featured a survey on the professional status of 340 journalists from all provinces who are members of the FMETU. A distinctive aspect of this survey was the focus on the professional rights that the members are currently entitled to in their respective media institutions.

This survey revealed that many of the journalists, especially provincial correspondents who form the backbone of the media industry and send news from the ground, do not enjoy basic labor rights and work under severe hardships with meager pay and few resources to carry out their journalistic duties.

The findings of this survey are available online on the FMETU website, fmetu.org on the page, IFJ-UTU 2022.

The third phase of the project was training in mobile journalism to a representative group of 20 young journalists. Applications were called for this training and 21 journalists were selected. 30% of the participants were Tamils and Muslims and 30% were women journalists. They participated in a hand on skills development workshop in Colombo, conducted by Dr. Sameera Thialakawardena, Digital Media Specialist and Senior Lecturer, at Open University of Sri Lanka.

Following the training, the participants produced 17 videos highlighting issues relating to professionalism and the rights of journalists in Sri Lanka. These videos are now uploaded to the FMETU youtube channel, which is linked to the FMETU website.

A detailed report based on the findings of the survey capturing the professional status and rights of journalists in Sri Lanka has been compiled. FMETU will be presenting this report to the Minister of Labour, Minister of Mass Media,  And relevant Government officials.

The FMETU expresses its gratitude to IFJ Asia, Director Ms. Jane Worthington, and IFJ colleagues for their invaluable guidance and support towards the success of this project.

Yours, Truly

Dharmasiri Lankapeli                                                                           Krisni Ifham General Secretary                                                                                President           077 364 1111                                                                                   077 798 6818

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.

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.

Do you have questions? Call or visit us.

+(94) 773 641 111

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

info@fmetu.org

Newsletter

Get latest news & update

Connect With Us

© 2021 – FMETU. All rights reserved.

Carefully crafted by Ceyber Ceylon