CPA launches Report on Threats to Journalists, HR Defenders and Civil Society 2022,
CPA and FMM jointly held an event April 7 2022 to launch the Report on the Analysis of HRD Cases and Articles, resulting from the recent project on Promoting Human Rights and Democratic Values in Sri Lanka. The Report, titled Human Rights and Democracy, Threats to Journalists, HR Defenders and Civil Society 2022, was issued in all three languages and is available at the CPA and FMM websites.
Speakers at the event held 7th April in Janaki Hotel, Colombo, included Attorney-at-Law and Senior Researcher, Thusitha Siriwardena who presented the report, Guest Former Speaker, Karu Jayasuriya, Attorney-at-Law Lakshika Ratnayake, Media Expert, Wijayananda Jayaweera, the CPA Executive Director, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Dr. M T M Mahees and there was a Special Presentation by a Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission, Dr. M.H. Nimal Karunasiri. A short documentary was also screened of the project findings and the current Sri Lankan context.
The objective of the six month project was to reinforce the freedom of media, promote access to information and freedom of expression by strengthening journalist practices while developing a sustainable shared platform for civil society, media, regional/ Colombo-based organisations and human rights defenders
Project participants will actively work together to strengthen and leverage their capacities towards creating alternative spaces for protection and inclusive political participation, and pushing for reversal of human rights violations and threats to fundamental freedoms.
The project was completed in the period 1 Oct 2021 to 31 March 2022. Expert mentors were selected to lead the programme and the Online Technical Tool Kit was drafted with the aim of ensuring Digital and Physical Safety for the participants comprising provincial and national level 250+ journalists/civil rights activists/CSOs/ human rights defenders. Workshops were held through Zoom and in the project areas to train on ‘Digital and Physical Safety’ for provincial and national level 250+ journalists/civil rights activists/CSOs/ human rights defenders. Training included a component on the use of RTI Act for investigative journalist practices, and planning on how to achieve project objectives. The project outputs included knowledge/communication products such as handbills, booklets, toolkits, and multimedia (audio and video) products on recent examples of media freedom violations/ threats to HR defenders.
New networks were created and existing ones strengthened so that there is increased coordination and more solidarity between journalists/media, local minority community leaders/CSOs/human rights defenders provincially and island-wide. The use of RTI-elicited information in news productions and training to enhance news literacy was promoted.
Provincial and island-wide issues of shrinking human rights freedoms have been identified via 10 affiliated organisations and stakeholders defenders provincially and island-wide and more than a dozen articles were drafted on significant cases by journalists, including their recommendations. A secure database was set up for collection of cases and incidents, and a new App was launched for quick access to this programme. The innovative Whistle Blower App allows users to report anonymously and automatically erases their electronic connections to the stories for their security.
The final Report was published, analysing more than two dozen major incidents and cases of threats to journalists during the project period and giving policy recommendations to address the issues. The project was supported by the British High Commission through its Magna Carta Fund, a strategic programme fund dedicated to tackling the root causes of human rights violations worldwide.
The Research analysis Report, titled Human Rights and Democracy, Threats to Journalists, HR Defenders and Civil Society 2022 is available for download below in English here.
Download book in Tamil here.
Download book in Sinhala here.