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IFEX members announce fact finding, advocacy mission for press freedom

(FMM/IFEX) - The following is a 9 October 2006 FMM press release:

International fact finding and advocacy mission for press freedom in Sri Lanka, 9th to 11th October 2006

A mission on press freedom is visiting Sri Lanka from Monday the 9th to Wednesday the 11th October, at the invitation of leading media institutions and organizations in the country.

The five-member mission, made up of delegates from International Media Support (IMS), the International Press Institute (IPI), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International News Safety Institute (INSI) will focus on three target issues; namely, threats to journalists and killings, freedom of expression and censorship, and legal reform.

The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI), the Free Media Movement (FMM), the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA), the Federation of Media Employees Trade Union (FMETU), the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMMF) will jointly host the five-member international mission in Sri Lanka.

The delegation will be holding meetings with editors, publishers, senior journalists, media activists, political leaders, heads of security establishments and civil society representatives. Appointments with President Mahinda Rajapakse, Media Minister Anura Yapa, UNP deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya, JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, TNA leader R. Sampanthan and SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem have also been sought. They will also meet with members of the diplomatic corps in Colombo.

"It is understood that the recent re-escalation of the ethnic conflict has resulted in a serious deterioration of the security situation of media personnel as well as institutions in Sri Lanka. The current context has resulted in threats to the personal safety of media workers as well as the suppression and intimidation of media institutions, and the silencing of voices of dissent by all parties to the conflict - detrimental factors which would impede functional democracy anywhere," the host organizations said in a press release.

The delegation will conduct a press conference to reveal their findings at the end of the mission.

Free Media Movement

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