The International Federation of Journalists today demanded “immediate action” against Sri Lankan Navy chief who allegedly assaulted a journalist who was covering a strike by port workers in the country’s southern Hambantota port.
“The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is seriously concerned by the assault of a journalist by the head of a security force and demands immediate action against him from the Sri Lankan government. Such an incident, if allowed to pass, not only undermines press freedom and the rights of the media but also has a chilling effect on free press,” the global body said in statement.
“The IFJ demands immediate action against the commander. Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne assaulted a journalist while he was reporting navy action to open the port blocked by protesting port workers. Video footage recorded by other journalists showed the navy commander darting towards Gunasekera, assaulting him and using foul language,” the statement said.
The incident happened on December 10 at the southern port of Hambantota during a strike by port workers demanding job security.
The Navy had said they freed a vessel held by the striking workers preventing it leaving from the port.