Sri lanka : Obstructing and Intimidating the work of regional journalist Bimal Shyaman is a violation of media freedom – Free Media Movement27 May, 2020
Media reported an incident where Bimal Shyaman, the regional journalist of Hiru, Derana and Swarnavahini Television channels, was intimated and harassed on May 24, 2020 while reporting the Ramazan celebrations of the Atulugama area, which was open to widespread speculation over the spread of covid -19. According to media reports, he had visited the area on the invitation of the governing body of a local mosque and the purpose of his visit was to report how a community that was isolated and quarantined until a few weeks ago were conducting their religious observances. While the majority of the people worked closely with him, a group of people damaged the vehicle of journalist Bimal Shyaman and started threating him while hurling abuse. They further threatened to harm him, if the video clips of the incident footage were broadcast on TV. The Free Media Movement considers this incident as a serious violation that should not occur under any circumstance.
Perhaps they have behaved in such a manner since some media reports in the recent past have been reported in manner to raise doubts and suspicion in the public eye about the residents of Atalugama. However, the Free Media Movement sees that such issues of media ethics can only be resolved through broad media reform and not by threats or obstructions.
In the process of democracy, the media and the citizen must be on the same platform, which is very important when those in power act in a threatening manner. The Free Media Movement condemns the incident faced by journalist Bimal Shyaman and reiterate that such incidents should never occur in a democratic space.
The Free Media Movement, therefore, urges the parties concerned to provide justice in this regard and urge the media institutions to empower regional journalists to carry out their reporting work in a broader professional setting.