Sri Lanka: journalists attacked by security forces

  • 25 Jul 2022

Union condemns assaults against media workers at the Gota Go Gama site in Galle Face.

The National Union of Journalists has joined the International Federation of Journalists in condemning attacks by security forces on media workers.

On 22 July, at least 50 people were injured with three seeking hospital treatment following assaults by riot gear officers, towards journalists reporting at a protest march against new president Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Despite clearly identifying themselves to authorities, individuals were beaten and prevented from reporting. Unions and journalist associations in the country have urged Sri Lanka’s new government to demonstrate its commitment to media freedom, recognising the action by forces as “heinous acts of violence.”

At least eight journalists have been physically assaulted since anti-government protests begun in April. These occurred against a backdrop of political and economic instability, worsening in recent months.

The NUJ is calling for an end to violence and intimidation against Sri Lankan journalists, and urges government to commit to protecting press freedom, and the safety of media workers.

The IFJ said:

“The violent and unprovoked attacks against journalists and protestors at the Galle Face site are abhorrent breaches of democracy and press freedom. The human rights violations committed on the first day of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s presidency set a dangerous precedent for Sri Lanka’s social and political stability under the new government, with a blatant disregard for the media and the right to freedom of expression.

“The IFJ calls for an immediate investigation into the attacks so that those responsible can be held accountable.”

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