FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SRI LANKA

For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

Sri Lanka: Cricket authorities should ensure dignity and safety of sports journalists

Press Release/ 18 .02.2011

The Free Media Movement expresses its concern over two separate incidents where officials of  Sri Lanka Cricket Association   misbehaved towards sports journalists at a time when sport fans are waiting eagerly for the news and views on 2011 Cricket World Cup.

On 9th February, the  media manager of  the Sri Lanka Cricket Association,  Mr. Brian Thomas, had threatened journalist Samantha Bandula of the Irurasa Sinhala weekly with death. Mr. Bandula has told the FMM that he was threatened  for asking a question from the Sri Lanka Cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara at a press conference on the new cricket ground at Suriyawewa. Although Mr. Sangakkara had provided a clear answer, Mr. Thomas had verbally abused journalist Bamdula saying that his question was intended to make the President uncomfortable.

On 15th February  (Rtd.) Major General Laurence Fernando obstructed  Mr.Brian Mergetrode, the media manager appointed by International Cricket Council for  matches that the Sri Lanka Team will play in the Cricket World Cup tournament, from entering a cricket ground. This incident took place at  the R. Premadasa Stadium where the practice match between Sri Lanka and West Indies was played. According to media reports his rude behavior towards Mr. Mergetrode is uncalled for.

Condemning both these high handed acts of Sri Lanka Cricket officials we call upon the authorities to look into these incidents and take necessary corrective measures. At the same time the FMM  demands that sports journalists and media officials  are respected and have proper access and facilities to cover the World Cup tournament and related events.

Sunil Jayasekara
Convener, Free Media Movement

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