Free Media Movement said the media should be guaranteed the space to conduct their profession in a free and responsible manner during the election period.
The Provincial Journalist Collective’s recently held a press briefing and revealed information regarding the harassments and obstructions faced by regional journalists across Sri Lanka from various political party organizers and their supporters during the reporting of the presidential election. According to the information received by the Free Media Movement, various political parties have refused to give access to individual journalists from covering their presidential election campaign meetings after inquiring the name of the media institution they represent.
An election is not just an exercise of the citizen’s vote. The Free Media Movement recognizes that, as a knowledgeable citizen, access to detailed information relating to the various candidates’ policies and statements, will help the voters to make an informed decision. We emphasize that free and independent professional journalists, as well as all media institutions, have a huge responsibility to provide unbiased information the voters require.
The Free Media Movement reiterates that journalists have a professional responsibility in election reporting and are bound by the code of ethics of media reporting, while the media institutions are bound by the media guidelines issued by the Election Commission.
The Free Media Movement urges all authorities to take prompt and impartial action on complaints made by the media community and to prevent undue influence on journalists and media institutions.
Therefore, the Free Media Movement strongly emphasizes that it is the responsibility of all political parties and independent candidates contesting this election to create the necessary environment especially for provincial journalists and media institutions to fulfil their professional duties, in covering the 2019 presidential election. The Free Media Movement states that creating such an environment, as mentioned above, would contribute to citizens’ ability to make an informed decision and thereby further strengthen democracy.