Sri Lanka: could the West do more about human rights and press freedom?

Part 1
Part 2

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The appointment of Mervyn Silva, a politician with an established record of hostility towards journalists, as deputy minister of Information within the Sri Lankan government in April this year was met with calls for his removal by press freedom organisations.

What can be done to protect journalists working in Sri Lanka who face threats, imprisonment and violence as a result of doing their work?

Join us at the Frontline Club where we will be discussing press freedom in Sri Lanka and the impact that government has on its reporting of human rights abuses within the country. Is the Sri Lankan media in a position to hold the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to account?

Could the West and its media do more?

With us to discuss this will be:

Douglas Wickramaratne, poitical analyst, former president of the World Federation of Sri Lankan Associations and current president of the Sinhala Association of Sri Lankans in the UK;

Jonathan Miller, foreign affairs correspondent, Channel 4 News;

Edward Mortimer, senior vice-president and chief programme officer at the Salzburg Global Seminar and chair of the Advisory Council for the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice;

Yolanda Foster, Amnesty International’s Sri Lanka rsearcher

Chaired by Stephen Sackur, presenter of BBC HARDtalk who has recently worked on a series of ‘HARDtalk On The Road’ programmes looking at the legacy of thirty years of civil war in Sri Lanka and examining the country’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law.

The second part of the video is available here

1 comment

  1. Hello,
    It is an enlightening and educational treat to listen to your discussion. I personally cannot imagine the life of a journalist in Sri Lanka, or anywhere dangerously violent, for that matter.
    Nevertheless, however worthless my opinion may be, my belief of the strength in numbers remains. As in all things in life worth standing up and fighting for, people have to unite and stand as one. In other words, if a majority of Western governments and their medias wanted to lead the battle for justice and human rights in Sri Lanka, I imagine something positive would result.
    If we’re all honest with ourselves, truly the only way to rid SL of the terror, oppression, lack of democracy and Freedom of Speech, kidnappings and violence, the current totalitarian regime of Sri Lanka has to be removed. My faculties are quite clear at the moment, as I firmly state that I’m as cowardly as one can be. That being said, I will also affirm my belief that the only way to democracy, equality and justice for all Sri Lankans is to forcibly remove those currently in power, since they’ll never step down on their own. Of course, the UN will never go for that idea, and as such, this view will never be supported nor realized.
    However, it also goes without saying that it will only be a matter of time before another radical group will arise in Sri Lanka, and/or Rajapaksa will be assassinated by someone or another, who finally has had enough of the evil that is the SL regime. The aftermath of such an event is anyone’s guess…
    Until the Western governments and their medias come together and make a united effort toward a positive change for journalists and reporters, as well as Sri Lankans, i.e. Tamils, nothing will change. Rajapaksa is in control and will continue on that road of totalitarianism until stopped. No matter how self-righteous they wish to have the world believe they are, the SL government has much to hide and deceit has become second nature.
    Thank you.

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