Colombo bars journalists access to wounded soldiers

[TamilNet, Friday, 25 April 2008, 07:04 GMT]
Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) officials have barred photographers from entering hospitals in Colombo where Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers injured in battle are being treated according to complaints received from four journalists, said Colombo based media watchdog Free Media Movement on Friday. Stating that only some foreign wire services and few news websites operating from Colombo reported the battle front casualties independent of government press releases, the FMM said the right of the public to know information and news related to the on going war is severely undermined by the restrictions placed on journalists.

"According to government military statements that have been published by media, the Army has killed more than 3,000 LTTE fighters in 2008," the FMM said adding that 3,000 was the figure given by the Sri Lankan Army Commander as the strength of the LTTE military six months ago.

"In Sri Lanka today the saying that first casualty of war is truth is being proved almost every day," the FMM observed and urged the GoSL and the LTTE to respect the right to information.

Full text of the press release issued by the FMM follows:

Government bars photographers, censors news from war front

25 April 2008, Colombo, Sri Lanka: Government officials barred photographers from entering hospitals where soldiers injured in battle are being treated, four photo journalists told the Free Media Movement (FMM) yesterday. Hitherto, photographers have had no problems in entering hospitals to report on the casualties of war. It is highly likely that these measures have been taken after heavy losses (numbering in the hundreds) faced by the Sri Lankan Army earlier this week after fighting intensified in the North.

All government appointed military spokespersons give watered down figures of war casualties and mainstream media are compelled to report these official statistics. Only some foreign wire services and few news websites operating from Colombo reported the battle front casualties independent of government press releases. According to government military statements that have been published by media, the Army has killed more than 3,000 LTTE fighters in 2008. 3,000 was the figure given by Army Commander as the strength of the LTTE military six months ago. In Sri Lanka today the saying that first casualty of war is truth is being proved almost every day.

The FMM believes that the right of the public to know information and news related to the on going war is severely undermined by the restrictions placed on journalists. Both the LTTE and the Government do not allow independent media to cover the war in a manner that accurately reports, amongst other things, the numbers dead and injured. The FMM has demanded both sides to allow media to cover the war independently for nearly 15 years.

We urge the government and the LTTE to respect the right to information. War propaganda is not a substitute for accurate, impartial and responsible journalism that can only be ensured by supporting and strengthening media freedom and the freedom of expression in Sri Lanka.

 

Latest 15 Reports
19.04.18 21:15   Photo
JUSU urges Tamils to mark Mu'l'livaaykkaal Remembrance in its true spirit of uprising
18.04.18 23:03  
Cooray emerges as broker of civil contracts to occupying Sinhala military in North
17.04.18 23:31  
SL Resettlement Ministry twists figures on lands seized by Sinhala military in North
16.04.18 20:02  
Mano Ganesan challenged in Jaffna, politician complains of threat
15.04.18 10:13  
7 DS officials under pressure to collaborate with Sinhala colonisation schemes in Batticaloa
14.04.18 23:19  
Colombo schemes new type of subservient CSD colonies in Jaffna diverting foreign aid
13.04.18 23:18   Photo
SL military brings back paramilitary violence to control peaceful protests as NGO tricks fail
12.04.18 19:03  
SL Forest department blocks access to 300 acres of agricultural lands in Ampaa'rai
11.04.18 23:20  
Tamil political prisoner launches hunger-strike at Anuradhapura prison
10.04.18 18:19  
Genocidal Sri Lanka imposes forcible military training for CSD pre-school teachers
09.04.18 11:40   Photo
Fisheries society cautiously welcomes Court decision on fishing access to Naayaa'ru Tamils
08.04.18 23:28  
Militarisation of pre-schools akin to child soldiering: NPC Education Minister
07.04.18 21:34  
Muslim politicians block relocation of SL military base in Batticaloa
06.04.18 06:35   Photo
NPC finally awakens against SL Mahaweli Authority obstructing territorial integrity of Tamil homeland
05.04.18 16:46  
Vavuniyaa Judge warns SL Attorney General against delaying tactics on TPP cases
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=25425