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As CHOGM Opens, IfJ Seeks Accountability for Free Speech Violations

As CHOGM Opens, IfJ Seeks Accountability for Free Speech Violations

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Published by: Thavam on Nov 16, 2013
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11/16/2013

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Media Release: Sri Lanka 15 November 2013
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on the heads of government and delegations of the Commonwealth countries, who today begin their bi-annual summit meeting in the Sri an!an national ca"ital of Colombo, to lay a""ro"riate stress on the need for the restoration of democratic liberties and media freedom in the host country, after a #uarter century or more when these have been under severe stress$IFJ affiliates in Sri an!a have already flagged the issue as an urgent "riority$ The Free %edia %ovement (F%%) has issued a
 on s"ecific incidents in recent times which show that the &overnment of Sri an!a (&S) is yet to dis"lay any sort of intent to reverse the severe deterioration in the environment for the media and  'ournalism in the country$ s recently as Se"tember, the climate of threat and intimidation in Sri an!a forced senior 'ournalist %andana Ismail beywic!rema, co-editor of the Sunday eader, to see! eile$ *er husband +omesh beywic!rema, business editor of the Sunday eader and their twelve-year old daughter also left the country$ This followed an armed raid on their home in ugust and an effort to rustle through their "ersonal "a"ers in an obvious #uest for some documents that they may have obtained as "art of their  'ournalistic "ractice$The F%% re"orts that since ., when the last "hase of active hostilities in Sri an!a/s long-running civil war began, more than eighty 'ournalists have fled the country$ The F%% has described this as an ongoing 0war against 'ournalism1$The IFJ and its "artners are es"ecially concerned at the reign of im"unity which continues to "revail for attac!s on 'ournalists and media institutions, and the constant fear that individual media "ractitioners wor! under$ 2ven if overt measures of coercion are less cons"icuous than during the war years, "olitical and financial "ower is being de"loyed to silence dissent$ 3ictims of gross human rights violations during the war years are de"rived of a forum through which they can articulate their grievances and see! redress$The IFJ and its associated grou"s are worried at the failure of &S to acce"t any firm

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