Freedom of Expression at stake in Sri Lanka - FMM

[TamilNet, Thursday, 22 September 2005, 17:06 GMT]
Free Media Movement in Sri Lanka has expressed its concern at the feeling of insecurity and intimidation some famous film-makers in Sri Lanka are subjected to in recent weeks. The FMM points out to reports of pressure on film-makers advocating conflict resolution in the country.

In its Press Release on 22 September 2005, the FMM speaks of a newspaper article tarnishing the image of prominent film directors who have, in their films, strongly advocated peace and national reconciliation in the country.

The said English newspaper article on 14 september 2005 has branded the anti-war films by Ashoka Handagama, Prasanna Vithanage, Sudath Makadivulweva and Vimukthi Jayasundara as, "New Terrorism," and "Foreign Funded Cinema." Although the four artistes have won laurels at international festivals and recognition at home, the arricle has accused them holding brief to the LTTE.

In its Press release, the FMM refers to recent meetings some senior military officers have had with two of these directors where the artistes have been subject to verbal abuse and intimidation. After the meeting, the artisites seem to have expressed fear of serious repercussions in case of a future war.

Emphasising that, "Artistic interpretation is an inviolable right of all artistes and media personnel and is linked to freedom of expression," the FMM says that it strongly upholds the right of artistic interpretation and commends the work of artistes who explore the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka through arts and culture.

"We strongly call upon all parties to respect freedom of expression including the right to creative expression and media by artistes and film-makers. We urge the government and the Security Forces to uphold these rights," says the FMM in its Press release, insisting that the interests of national security cannot cloud basic human rights.

 

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