For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
By Lakna Paranamanna and Nabeela Hussain
Hundreds of journalists, media rights activitists, trade unionists and politicians staged a protest near the Lipton Circus yesterday against the Police attack on journalists last Thursday at the Higher Education Ministry.
The protestors wore black bands, carried placards and chanted slogans against the police claiming that the attack on journalists was a deliberate move while they urged the authorities to immediately take action against the policemen who attacked the journalists. “For the past few years journalists in this country have been assaulted, kidnapped, murdered and some were forced to flee the country. Now, after the implementation of the 18th amendment the situation has worsened. The attack on journalists last Thursday makes it evident that journalists no longer have the freedom to engage in their duties. The Media Identity Card issued by the Media Minister no longer serves any purpose,” Working Journalists Association National Organizer Gnanasiri Koththigoda said at the protest pointing out that journalists were severely attacked by the Police after their Media IDs were checked.
“The past few years have not been a favourable period for the journalists and the situation seems to keep turning worse each day. Even President Rajapaksa has accepted the attack on journalists which indicates that journalists no longer have any freedom to continue their profession. The attack on journalists last Thursday was not an attack simply on journalists, but a massive blow against all those who value democracy. We should not allow this agenda to continue in the country,” Free Media Movement Convener Sunil Jayasekara said yesterday.