Apr 09, 2020

Young Journalists' Association lodges complaint with HRCSL

Sri Lanka Young Journalists' Association has lodged a complaint with Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) against the police media statement dated April 1, 2020 which emphasised to take strict legal action against those who point out the shortcomings of public officials who are battling the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, on social media.

In its complaint, the Sri Lanka Young Journalists' Association had named Acting IGP Chandana Wickremaratne and Police Media Division Director Jaliya Seneviratne as respondents.

The complainant stated that police media division had issued a media statement on April 1, 2020 under the heading that 'Strict legal action will be taken against anyone making defamatory, malicious social media posts about public servants who are battling the country’s COVID-19 outbreak'.

Sri Lanka Young Journalists' Association maintained that police cannot determine whether public officials are discharging their duties with shortcomings or not. The Young Journalists' Association further stated that public opinion plays a crucial role in modern democracy.

It further observed that freedom of speech is essential for the proper functioning of the democratic process and Supreme Court of Sri Lanka on several occasions has ensured the people's fundamental right to the freedom of speech and expressions enshrined in Article 14(a) of the Constitution.