Stop the War on Journalists in Sri Lanka says World Press Freedom Community
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today sent a joint letter to the President of Sri Lanka voicing the concerns from over 30 journalists’ associations and press freedom and human rights organisations across the globe for the safety of journalists from the island nation.Addressed to Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka, the letter demands an immediate change in the escalating culture of violence against journalists by government officials and members of the public.
This letter is the first of a series of actions for the ‘Stop the War on Journalists’ campaign for Sri Lanka which will culminate with world Press Freedom Day on May 3 and the release of the IFJ’s annual South Asia Press Freedom Report for 2007-2008.A global day of action has been called for April 10, 2008. This day, which falls two days before Sri Lanka’s Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations, will send a message of hope and strength to the band of journalists’ organisations in Sri Lanka who have continued their fight for press freedom despite dangerous circumstances involving high risks to the personal safety of themselves and their families.“Sri Lanka has long been considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, but the situation is becoming ever more serious,” said IFJ Asia Pacific Director Jacqueline Park. “Our colleagues in Sri Lanka need to know that the international press freedom and human rights communities stand in solidarity with them and support their tireless work.”All journalists’ associations, media organisations and press freedom and human rights groups are invited to add their name to the joint letter as well as send their own letters to the Sri Lankan embassies in their countries on April 10 and display the campaign poster on their websites, at rallies and in the press at any opportunity.