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FMM concerned over termination of editorial director, cartoonist

(FMM/IFEX) - 21 June 2012 - The Free Media Movement expresses its serious concern over the decision by the management of the Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Ltd. to terminate the services of its editorial director, Mr. Lalith Alahakoon, and cartoonist Mr. Wasantha Siriwardana. Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Ltd publishes the Ceylon Today and Mawbima papers.

According to the statement Mr. Alahakoon has forwarded to the FMM, so far no charge sheet has been given to him and the termination of his service has only been conveyed to Mr. Alahakoon verbally. It seems that he has not been given any letter indicating that his services have been terminated. Nor has Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Ltd taken any action to justify the termination of the services of Mr. Siriwardana.

The FMM, as an organization which stands for freedom of expression and the well being of the media industry in Sri Lanka, expresses its deep disappointment over this series of events.

At present, media institutions in Sri Lanka are increasingly falling under the government's grip. Media institutions are forced to practice a great amount of self censorship. In such a situation these kind of non democratic incidents do not help at all in furthering media freedom in Sri Lanka.

In this context, the FMM especially appeals to the Sri Lanka Editors Guild, News Papers (owners) Society and to all media freedom organizations to initiate a discussion on the concept of editorial freedom and the rights and duties of newspaper owners, in order to arrive at a common ground that all stake holders can partake in.

Sunil Jayasekara
FMM Secretary

Sharmini Boyle
FMM Convener
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