reiterates call for democratisation of state media
The Free Media Movement (FMM) has expressed concern over
the takeover of the Mass Communications Ministry by President Chandrika
Kumaratunga, saying that the move could have adverse effects on
media freedom in particular and democratic rights in general. The
FMM in a statement said:
the undemocratic tradition of appointing political supporters of
the governing party to the high posts of state media, the President
in this instance changed the editors and directors of state media
institutions overnight. In some instances journalists have been
thrown out and doors forced open by the new political bosses of
the state media. Changes in the reporting are already visible and
as usual it has become a one party propaganda organ.
appointed heads of state media entered the media institutions accompanied
by armed soldiers and especially armed personnel of the Presidential
Security Division. Furthermore appointments to the ITN and Lake
house have been done outside the legal framework. These developments
could set dangerous precedents and may affect media environment
of the institutions.
the FMM condemns the use of armed forces by heads of state media
institutions in this instance. The FMM has persistently called for
the democratization of the state media bringing them under independent
media commission and transforming them into truly public service
media. Both the UNP and the SLFP have promised to make state media
into public services media when they were in opposition but failed
to carry out any far-reaching changes, either in editorial policies
or governing structures after coming to power.
renewing its call to democratize state owned media, the FMM requests
all media outlets including state owned media in the country to
be balanced in reporting the current crisis so that citizens may
be able to make informed judgments. At the same time, the FMM requests
the government not to sack any journalists working in the state
media institutions on political grounds."