IFJ Calls on Sri Lankan Authorities to Protect Safety and Freedom of Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has joined its affiliate, the National Union of Jounrnalists, UK and Ireland (NUJ), in calling on authorities in Sri Lanka to ensure journalists can work freely and safely in the country. The call follows reports that a news team from the UK’s Channel 4 TV station were mobbed by pro-government supporters in Sri Lanka yesterday, 13 November. According to Channel 4, hundreds of pro-government protesters blocked a train taking its television crew to the north of the island. The team of six journalists were tailed by Sri Lankan state intelligence agents on the train. In a separate incident, a BBC cameraman was yesterday physically restrained by security officials at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka’s capital city Colombo. “We strongly condemn the treatment of journalists from the UK’S Channel 4 and BBC TV stations in Sri Lanka,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “We offer our full support to these journalists and call for Sri Lankan authorities to protect the freedoms and rights of journalists in the country, particularly during the Commonwealth summit that is taking place there.” The NUJ has sent a message of support to the UK journalists and called on the UK government to take action. Michelle Stanistreet, National Union of Journalists general secretary, said: “The UK government must put pressure on the Sri Lankan authorities to ensure that journalists can work in safety and reporters and camera teams are free to do their jobs without harassmen.


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