May 06, Colombo: The Action Committee for Media Freedom in Sri Lanka, an organization working to establish media freedom in the country, has commenced a campaign to demand for legislation on the right to information.
The campaign, which will be taken island wide, commenced with the signing of a public petition launched yesterday in front of the Fort Railway Station.
The event was organized to mark the World Press Freedom Day, which fell on May 3.
A group of parliamentarians from the United National Party, Jathika Vimukthi Peramuna and Tamil National Alliance signed the petition.
Leading opposition politicians Karu Jayasuriya, Tissa Attanayake, Mangala Samaraweera, Eran Wickramaratne, Ruwan Wijewardena, Harsha de Silva, Wickramabahu Karunaratne, Mano Ganesan, S. Sumanthiran, K.D. Lal Kantha and Sunil Handunneththi as well as representatives from trade unions and civil society organizations participated in the event.
The Action Committee for Media Freedom that consists of the Sri Lanka Working Journalist Association, Federation of Media Employees Trade Union, Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance, Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum, Sri Lanka Journalist's Trade Union, Professional Web Journalists' Association, Young Journalists' Association, Young Christian Journalists' Association, United Media Forum and Journalists for Freedom was formed with the aim of working to establish media freedom in the country.
The main goals of the Action Committee is to effectively lobby and struggle for the right to information and publication, justice to media personnel who have been murdered, assaulted, threatened, abducted, gone missing and even fled the country while also demanding proper inquiries into the attacks faced by some media institutions in the past few years.
The World Press Freedom Day 2014 is being celebrated at a time when the government of Sri Lanka, according to the movement, has ignored the basic proposals put forward by the country's media organizations to safeguard media freedom.
The Committee says in order to achieve the goals of the country's media, a free media, which are a key feature in any democratic society, have to be established. The support and assistance of religious leaders, political parties, trade unions, civil society organizations and the general public plays a key role in ensuring media freedom in the country.