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Sri Lanka journalists threatened over New York Times report

Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa (L) listens as Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake (unseen) presents the 2017 budget to the parliament in Colombo, 10 November 2016
Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa (L) listens as Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake (unseen) presents the 2017 budget to the parliament in Colombo, 10 November 2016

ISHARA S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images

This statement was originally published on FMM's Facebook page on 5 July 2018.

The Free Media Movement considers the statement made by the parliamentarian Kanchana Wijesekara focusing his ire on journalists Dharisha Bastians and Arthur Wamanan, who provided logistic support for the publication of an investigative article in the New York Times detailing the financial transactions of former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as an indirect threat to these two journalists and requests all responsible parties to ensure the safety of these two.

Further, this incident reveals the gross violation of the inalienable right of media professionals to support investigative journalism and sharing information. It's not only an intervention against their professional activities; it's also a threat to their security.

If there is any issue related to the article published in the New York Times, instead of following due process, the present behavior of the former President and his supporters is a threat to media freedom.

The Free Media Movement considers any intervention by any party into freedom of expression as a dangerous signal. And further, the Free Media Movement appeals to all parties vouched to protect freedom of expression, to act against the atmosphere created by this incident.

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