Probe sought into obstruction of journalist at court premises

Probe sought into obstruction of journalist at court premises

Probe sought into obstruction of journalist at court premises

Written by Staff Writer

11 Jul, 2020 | 9:52 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): The government information department has sought a probe into the obstruction of the duties of a photojournalist by a police officer on Friday.

Neomal Rangajeewa, a police inspector accused over the 2012 Welikada Prison Massacre, had dragged a journalist to the police post at the Colombo High Court, for attempting to capture his photograph, sparking concerns of media freedom in the country.

“The professional duties of the journalist had been severely obstructed as a result of this incident,” Nalaka Kaluwewa, the director general of the information department said.

The journalist who had encountered the incident holds an official identity card issued by the department, confirming his identity.

The government on Saturday condemned the incident.

“The President, Prime Minister, and the government severely condemns this incident,” Bandula Gunawardana, a cabinet spokesman told reporters a day after the incident.

Protests were staged by journalists while opposition and government politicians raised concerns over the incident.

“We cannot let anyone suppress media freedom with the use of police powers or state powers,” Wimal Weerawansa, a ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) candidate at the upcoming parliamentary election said.

He stressed that justice must be served over the incident, and that such activities must not take place in future.

“If something like that took place in broad day light, amidst the presence of other journalists and cameras, imagine what could have happened if no one was there?,” Samantha Vidyarathna, a National Peoples’ Power candidate said.

Namal Rajapaksa, another ruling party candidate also urged action to be taken over the incident.

“If there is no justifiable reason for such an incident to take place, legal action should be taken against it,” the SLPP candidate insisted.

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