The United States says it is concerned by reports that the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense has ordered registered Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and civil society groups to cease their media engagements and activities.
US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said the order undermines Sri Lanka’s longstanding and proud democratic traditions, including freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
“We strongly urge the Government of Sri Lanka to allow civil society organizations and NGOs, which play a vital role in supporting Sri Lanka’s democratic values, to operate freely,” Jen Psaki said.
The MOD had on Monday told NGOs, through a letter, not to go beyond their mandate.
The MOD letter sent to NGOs notes that some of them conduct press conferences, workshops, training for journalists, and dissemination of press releases which is beyond their mandate.
“We reiterate that all Non Governmental Organizations should prevent from such unauthorized activities with immediate effect,” the letter said.
Some NGOs had however raised concerns over the letter issued by the Ministry of Defence.