CaFFE condemns expulsion of Australian journalists

CaFFE condemns expulsion of Australian journalists

November 4, 2013   05:55 pm

The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) and Centre for Human Rights and Research (CHR)  today expressed “deep concern” over the expulsion of two Australian media rights activist by Sri Lankan authorities.

“Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) and Centre for Human Rights and Research (CHR)  Sri Lanka are deeply concerned about the expulsion of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Asia Pacific Director Jacqui Park and another representative who were conducting a workshop organized by the Free Media Movement (FMM),” they said in a statement.

Sri Lankan Immigration Department claims that they were asked to leave the country for conducting a media workshop while arriving in Sri Lanka on tourist visas.

Meanwhile FMM states that the two IFJ representatives were in Sri Lanka on personal reasons and later joined the workshop at their invitation.
CaFFE says Sri Lanka has earned a reputation as one of the worst places for journalists. “The 2013 ‘Impunity Index’ prepared by the Committee to Protect Journalists ranks Sri Lanka’s culture of impunity with regard to the murder of journalists as the fourth highest in the world and  Sri Lanka also ranks 162nd out of 179 countries in the Reporters Without Borders ‘Media Freedom Index’,” it said.

“Several journalists’ organizations are a part of the CHR’s civil society network and we are dismayed at the increasing restrictions on freedom of expression,” said Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, Executive Director of CaFFE/CHR.

“We also believe that building capacities of journalists are extremely important so that they are able to better carry out their profession and we see this as an attempt to limit opportunities for such training and capacity building.”

CaFFE says it “strongly feels” that the incident is a violation of fundamental rights enshrined by article 14 of the Sri Lankan constitution.

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