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CHR statement on expulsion of IFJ members

2013 Oct 31

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.)

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.
 
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'.

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. 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 strongly feels that this incident as a violation of fundamental rights enshrined by article 14 of the Sri Lankan constitution.

Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon,
Executive Director,
CaFFE/CHR

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