Australians protest against Bogolloagama press club meet

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 October 2008, 20:20 GMT]
More than 600 Australian Tamils protested in front of the National Press Club in Canberra Tuesday while the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Rohitha Bogollagama, was addressing an invited audience inside the National Press Club, sources in Canberra said. The protesters highlighted Sri Lanka's escalating human rights violations against the media workers.

Image


"A Sri Lankan government representative is addressing Australian journalists while the Sri Lankan government has banned journalists from visiting areas where there are more than 200,000 Internally displaced, and where Colombo's embargo on essential food is driving the IDPs towards a humanitarian crisis," protesters said of the press club event.

"Without press freedom, the truth and ground realities about the suffering of the Tamil people is not getting out to the international community," a protester said.

Mark Dodd of the Australian newspaper asked how a country that has questionable track record of human rights violations could ask the Australian government to ban the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Catherine McGrath from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) commented on the poor rating of Sri Lanka by various media rights groups. She asked whether the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) was going to allow journalists to enter LTTE controlled areas; to comment on the killing of journalists where the GoSL had been accused; and to comment on Sri Lanka opposition party leader's recent accusation of the GoSL in relation to Mr Janaka Perera's assassination.

Mr Bogollagama while denying allegations against the Government of Sri Lanka on Rights violations and physical violence against journalists, stated that press would be allowed to visit banned areas once the areas are brought under GoSL control.

Michael Cavanagh from ABC Radio Australia stated that even the Irish Republican Army did not lay down arms before negotiating with the British government. He highlighted that since the GoSL's withdrawal from the cease-fire, monitoring missions, international aid agencies and the United Nations have now left LTTE held areas, asking what that meant for the GoSL's credibility and how the world was to be independently informed of ground realities.

After meeting with Mr Bogollagama on Monday 13 October 2008, the Australian Foreign Minister, Mr Steven Smith, immediately issued a press statement stating that, "Australia's view remains that Sri Lanka's conflict cannot be resolved through military means alone. All parties to the conflict must work towards a political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of all Sri Lankans," he added.

Sri Lanka has recently intensified its military operations in an attempt to regain territory held by the LTTE. Media personnel are prohibited from visiting LTTE held areas or the frontlines, and rely on press releases by the GoSL.

In June this year, the country's Defence Ministry labelled journalists critical of the GoSL as "enemies of the state", warning it would take "all necessary measures to stop this journalistic treachery against the country". Media rights groups expressed statements of shock and declared the GoSL's statement gave "indirect support and justification for all the recent violence against the press."

Over 20 journalists have been murdered in Sri Lanka, and several more injured in attacks which media rights groups have often blamed on Sri Lanken armed Forces.

Image
Image
Image


Chronology:

 

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=27204