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Thu07192018

Last updateWed, 18 Jul 2018 7am

Local News

It has been emphasized that Sri Lanka remains firm in its commitment to work with the international community, towards ending impunity for crimes against journalists

Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera addressed the Opening ceremony of the UNESCO Regional Conference on Reinforcing Regional Cooperation to Promote Freedom of Expression and the Rule of Law in Asia, through Ending Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
The minister commenced his address pointing out that this is an occasion for us in Sri Lanka to remind ourselves that our country used to be a most unsafe place for journalists, not too long ago. It gives us the important opportunity to reflect on our past and resolve to never allow a recurrence of that dangerous past in our country ever again.

He further stated that it is also an occasion for us in Sri Lanka to recognize and acknowledge that justice is crucial and essential, because impunity will leave open the danger of the recurrence of the heinous crimes that occurred in the past. Therefore, this is an important occasion for us locally, to renew our commitment to justice, in memory of all journalists who have been silenced and in recognition of the importance of a free and independent media for advancing peace, development and good governance in our country.

He observed that today, internet and social media platforms are empowering citizens to fully use their right to freedom of expression and access to information to disseminate opinions, information and news. However, this also means that we have to effectively deal with the negative aspects such as misinformation, false propaganda and hate speech. These are real challenges that we must deal with, maybe even through legal means, but WITHOUT suppressing peoples’ right to freedom of expression, dialogue, debate and their access to information.

He emphasized that Sri Lanka remains firm in its commitment to work with the international community, including UNESCO, towards ending impunity for crimes against journalists and to uphold the rights of journalists around the world who place themselves at risk every day, to give voice to the voiceless.