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* FMM accuses Sri Lankan state media being used to promote hate and harm against independent media
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 15:03 GMT, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 31, Colombo: Media watchdog in Sri Lanka, the Free Media Movement (FMM) said it is outraged to note and expresses its serious concern over completely unverified and unsubstantiated pro-LTTE allegations by State controlled media against independent media and journalists in Sri Lanka.

FMM says this has been a recurrent occurrence in State media, used as a tool by the Government to name and shame journalists who report inconvenient truths as those who are partial to or in the pay of the LTTE.

“In the latest attempt to vilify independent journalists, the State controlled Sinhala language daily Dinamina carried a front-page headline story on 28th August alleging that high level investigations were underway on a group of journalists who supported LTTE though the Hiru newspaper,” FMM said in a press release.

“The news story with the byline of Wijayani Edirisinghe used anonymous “sources” to speculate that the group of journalists who run the Hiru newspaper might have colluded with the LTTE intelligence section. Further, the news report claims the LTTE had given 6 million Sri Lankan rupees (approximately US$ 55,684) to the newspaper,” said FMM.

“These unproved, unverified allegations were given a wide publicity by State controlled electronic media on the same day, putting the lives of the journalists associated with the story at grave risk,” FMM noted.

FMM says there are a number of other disturbing examples where journalists and media institutions were labeled as pro-LTTE by State media without a single shred of evidence and any credible sources or facts. This must stop, the FMM urged.

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