World’s largest broadcasting union condemns police assault on Sri Lankan journalists

The World Broadcasting Unions – WBU, which is the co-ordinating body of broadcasting unions around the world, has condemned the vicious attack on journalists of MTV Channel (Pvt) Ltd by Sri Lanka Police and security personnel on the 9th of July.

The World Broadcasting Unions has among its membership the largest and most influential unions of broadcast journalists around the world. They include the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, the Arab States Broadcasting Union, the African Union of Broadcasting, the Caribbean Broadcasting Union, the European Broadcasting Union, and International Association of Broadcasting, and the North American Broadcasters Association. The WBU was founded in 1922 and has its headquarters in Toronto, Canada.

The WBU, in an official statement, said that it is closely monitoring the Sri Lankan government’s response to attacks on journalists and attempts to intimidate media organizations.

The WBU called on the government to appoint an impartial body to investigate the incident on 9th July and to ensure that police and security personnel do not intimidate, harass or assault any journalists, or anyone associated with the companies which employ them.

The WBU noted that the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has formally acknowledged the unjustified assault on media personnel by police and security personnel and confirmed that the journalists posed no threat to police and that the assault represented a gross violation of the rights of a free media.

It noted that several members of the senior management of MTV Channel (Pvt) Ltd were arbitrarily summoned by police for questioning with regard to the news report on that day and on the arson attack on the Prime Minister’s residence which took place shortly afterwards.

The WBU said that it is speaking out on these events in direct support of MTV’s parent company, the Capital Maharaja Group, which is a member of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union.