has passed since the end of the war in #a- 201: people in Sri Lanka is -et to en<o- their inaliena,le right to freedom of e(pression. Statements made ,- the ?nited ations !igh ommissioner #adam a'i Pilla- after her fact finding mission to Sri Lanka form 28
;&g&st to 30
;&g&st 2013 ampl- descri,es the pre'ailing intolerance and intimidation of dissenting 'oices incl&ding the critical media and <o&rnalists.
n this regard the F## wo&ld like to foc&s on the concl&sions and recommendations of the ommonwealth election O,ser'er missions that 'isited Sri Lanka in recent -ears. The F## ,elie'e that the !O"# has moral responsi,ilit- to pers&ade the "o'ernment of Sri Lanka and its president who will ,e theommonwealth hairperson9in9Officefor ne(t two -ears to f&ll- implement these recommendations. eport of the ommonwealth %(pert TeamS L;@; P%S%T;L %L%TO5 2A Ban&ar- 2010
The media pla- a central part5 for good or e'il5 in the democratic or &ndemocratic nat&re of each co&ntr->s de'elopment and rep&tation. onseC&entl-5 no time is more cr&cial for making an assessment of an- co&ntr->s media than in the period leading &p to an election.
!owe'er5 media freedoms ha'e ,een partic&larl- affected ,- the %mergenc- eg&lations 6see hapter 37. The eg&lations ha'e esta,lished ,road criminal offences5 incl&ding the spreading of r&mo&rs or false statements likel- to ca&se p&,lic alarm or p&,lic disorder and other offences aimed at limiting the comm&nication and possession of information Dpre<&dicial to national sec&rit-.E The effect of these eg&lations has ,een to disco&rage <o&rnalists from in'estigating allegations of war crimes ,- the Sri Lankan militar-5 enco&rage self9censorship5 and dri'e a n&m,er of <o&rnalists into e(ile following threats and harassment directed at them and their families.
*Some of the emergenc- reg&lations were repealed in Septem,er 2011 ,&t the draconian Pre'ention of Terrorism ;ct still in force
which has ,een &sed to s&ppress freedom of e(pression rights F##+
%'en after the completion of the militar- campaign against the LTT% in #a- 200:5 this en'ironment of intimidation of <o&rnalists has contin&ed. Self9censorship is ,elie'ed to ,e common among <o&rnalists$ in'estigati'e <o&rnalism has ,een a partic&lar 'ictim of this intimidator- atmosphere.
. t was stated to the %(pert Team that political press&res co&ld also ,e ,ro&ght to ,ear on media proprietors to disco&rage p&,lication or halt the ,roadcast of a stor- deemed sensiti'e. Pri'atel-9owned newspapers in man- cases ha'e taken an editorial 'iew tending towards one part- or another. The le'el of this im,alance is nowhere approaching that of the state media which has operated a 'irt&al ,lack9o&t of an- mention of an- opposition part- &nless the item consists of ad'erse co'erage.*ele'ant+ ecommendations 8. The democratisation of p&,lic media wo&ld ,e greatl- strengthened ,- the transfer of state9r&n radio and tele'ision to a non9political stat&tor- ,od-. This remo'al of state control wo&ld address the 'er- s&,stantial im,alance noted in this report.
A. The introd&ction of an independent media association or co&ncil made &p entirel- of professionals from ,oth pri'ate media and the new stat&tor- ,od- responsi,le for p&,lic media. G t wo&ld also facilitate a clear ,alance ,- the p&,lic media in the interests of all citiHens and a reasona,le meas&re of ,alance ,- the pri'ate sector regardless of each media ho&se>s editorial political preference.
ommonwealth O,ser'er #issionSri Lanka>s orthern Pro'incial o&ncil %lections 2013$ Preliminar- Findings23 Septem,er 2013
*The f&ll report with recommendations has not ,een released to the p&,lic -et 9 F##+The media en'ironment appeared constricted. t was reported to &s that se'eral media o&tlets were self9censoring when it came to in9depth or sensiti'e reporting on the elections. The mission noted that in the r&n &p to the elections and on %lection a-5 important online and electronic media so&rces were inaccessi,le.I The f&ndamental freedoms of association and assem,l- were constrained in the pre9electoral period.
The ,oth missions emphasised the importance of re9esta,lishing democratic check and ,alances en'isaged in the 1J
amendment to the constit&tion.