January 21, 20010
Mass Protest Against the Gross Abuse of State Media in Sri Lanka
Hundreds of Trade Unionists, artists and activists voiced their strong protest against the abuse of State Media in Sri Lanka to favour the incumbent President in the ensuing elections in front of Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation head office in Colombo today. The participants belonging to many groups voiced their slogans against the biased and unethical conduct of the State Media directly supporting Rajapaksa and abuse of the opposition candidates, ignoring and violating the Supreme Court orders and directions of the Election Commissioner. Many trade unionists, artists, media persons and literary figures took part in the protest.
`People of Sri Lanka across the Island are totally disgusted with the gross violations of the basic rules that a democratic country should ensure. In the on going electioneering period, the ruling clique UFPA of Mahinda Rajapapaksa has shown utter disregard for all norms of democratic governance. It is no exaggeration to say that the ruling government under the grip of Rajapasa’s family has violated every rule in the books of democracy’, said the activists who voiced their protest.
`During the last twelve months, the brutal attacks and torture on the media persons have reached alarming proportions. The assassination of journalists who were critical of the regime started with the killing of Sivaram, Tamil Editor, followed by the murder of many notable journalists such as Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga,’ said Siritunga Jayasuriya, the presidential candidate of the United Socialist Party who participated in the protest. `The terror against the media includes the burning down of printing presses as well as the bombing of Sirasa Television Station. Even the United Nations have rebuked the regime for the lack of Media Freedom in the country in their reports. The imprisonment of prominent journalist Tissanayagam for a period of one year, for writing two articles allegedly supporting the LTTE and the denial of bail to him due to Government pressure on the courts show the repressive character of the present regime.’ Siritunga was one of the main campaigners to for the release of Tissanayagam along with Platform for Freedom. He was the only presidential candidate to participate in the protest in spite of his busy schedule of election campaign.
The United Socialist Party strongly condemns the process of violation of the freedom of media and demand that a free and fair expression of media has to be preserved at any cost, without which no democracy can function in Sri Lanka.
Issued by: Reginold Fernando,
Joint Secretary, Government Print Workers’ Union/
Election Secretariat-United Socialist Party, Sri Lanka
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