Sri Lanka PM emphasizes ending crimes against media, protecting journalists’ rights

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday emphasized on ending crimes against journalists and suppressing media and stressed that there is no place for such crimes in the present democracy.

The Colombo Page reported the Prime Minister saying, “Crime against media is a crime against democracy” while delivering the keynote address at the UNESCO Seminar on ‘Reinforcing Regional Cooperation to Promote Freedom of Expression and the Rule of Law in Asia through Ending Impunity for Crimes Against the Journalists’ held on Monday morning at Hotel Samudra, Colombo.

“We need to protect journalist and end impunity. Informed societies demand all governments to stop harassing and suppressing media,” the Premier said recalling that the present Sri Lankan government in 2015 put a definitive end for crimes against the media and since then there were no journalist abductions, murders, attacks, or intimidation.

Pointing out that many journalists were attacked murdered, and harassed during the previous regime, the Prime Minister assured that there would be no place for such crimes in the present democracy.

“We welcome the UN Plan of Action process to protect the safety of journalists, and we continue to strengthen the democracy in Sri Lanka, we’ll ensure the Plan of Action’s smooth implementation,” he added.

He said that Sri Lanka government is giving people back their rights and now there is a free media.

“I am proud to say that we have achieved great global recognition for the steps we have taken in only two years,” the Premier said adding that those who are responsible for all cases of attacks and harassments on journalists would be brought to the justice.

Participating in the same conference, Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera said Sri Lanka remains firm in its commitment to work with the international community, including UNESCO, to work towards ending impunity for crimes against journalists, and to uphold the rights of journalists.

He emphasized that recognizing and acknowledging that justice is crucial and essential because impunity will leave open the danger of the recurrence of the heinous crimes that occurred in the past.

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