Sri Lanka media rights body appalled at state ‘definition’ of a journalist

Dec 24, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Free Media Movement said it was “appalled” by an attempt to define journalists as people who hold a card issued by the Sri Lanka government, after an international rights body named Sri Lanka as the third most dangerous place for media workers in the world. “The Free Media Movement (FMM) is strongly opposed to and deeply regrets the self-styled definition of journalists as put forward recently by the Sri Lankan Media Minister, Hon. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa,” the rights body said in a statement.

The FMM strongly disagrees with and is appalled by the inappropriateness of this restrictive definition of a journalist.

The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), an international media rights body placed Sri Lanka as the third most dangerous country in the world for journalists to work after Iraq and Somalia.

However, according to the government definition only one journalist had been killed in the island. Iraq topped the PEC list followed by Somalia with eight journalist killings and Sri Lanka with seven.

The FMM said according to globally accepted norms and standards anyone who as a profession engages in gathering, editing and dissemination of information, individually or organizationally, in an impartial, accurate and professional manner, is a journalis