International team on Press Freedom to visit Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Sunday, 08 October 2006, 11:19 GMT]
A five-member International Mission on Press Freedom comprising delegates from the International Media Support (IMS), International Press Institute(IPI), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), United Nationals Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International News Safety Institute (INSI) will arrive in Colombo Monday on a three day visit at the invitation of leading media institutions and organizations in the country, media sources in Colombo said.

The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI), in collaboration with the Free Media Movement (FMM), Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA), Federation of Media Employees Trade Union (FMETU), Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA) and Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMMF) will be hosting the visiting media mission in Sri Lanka.

The team will assess the climate, especially threats to media independence in Sri Lanka, and particularly will focus on threats to journalists and killings, freedom of expression and censorship, and legal reforms said SLPI in a statement issued Sunday.

The international delegation will be holding meetings with editors, publishers, senior journalists, media activists, political leaders, heads of security establishments and also civil society representatives, said the statement.

The delegation has sought appointments with Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse, Media Minister Anura Priyadharsana Yapa and leaders of the UNP, and JVP. The delegation will also meet some members of the diplomatic corps in Colombo, the statement added.

The mission will conclude its Colombo visit by holding a media conference to reveal its findings, the statement said.

The visit gains added significance after several incidents of violence against Tamil journalists in Jaffna.

Sri Lanka's Defense Ministry sent a letter to the local media imposing a form of unofficial censorship after security forces were accused for killing 10 Muslim workers in Pottuvil on 17 September.

The letter said : "Please be advised that any news gathered by your institution through your own sources with regard to national Security and defense should be subjected to clarification and confirmation from the MCNS in order to ensure that correct information is published, Telecast or Broadcast."

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External Links:
IFJ: International Federation of Journalists
IMS: International Media Support
INSI: International News Safety Institute
UNESCO: Freedom of Expression
IPI: International Press Institute
FMM: Sri Lanka: Defense Ministry imposes unoffcial censorship


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