The Asian Media and Cultural Association (AMCA) vehemently condemns the brutal attack on journalists while they were covering the recent protest demonstration held in Mirihana, Colombo.
Noting that media freedom is a cornerstone of a democratic society, the AMCA, in a media release emphasises that any attempt to hinder journalists from doing their work is an extremely undemocratic act.
The AMCA also questions the hidden agenda behind law enforcement assaulting journalists despite them even displaying their media accreditation cards.
AMCA also notes that one journalist was assaulted by the police, merely due to the fact that he was recording the incident using a mobile phone. Noting that the mobile has become the main tool of journalists worldwide, and this form of emerging new media storytelling is widely known as MOJO (Mobile Journalism), AMCA says, “Therefore, our association is of the opinion that it is not illegal for a journalist to report an incident from a mobile phone.”
AMCA also points out that this assault shows that the Police Department has very little knowledge of rising media trends in the modern world.
In the light of these events, the AMCA has proposed the following to authorities :
1) An independent inquiry should be launched into the attack on journalists in the Mirihana area and the perpetrators should be punished by law.
2) Appropriate compensation should be granted to all journalists who were injured and whose belongings were damaged.
3) Journalists covering conflicts such as protests or demonstrations should be provided with press jackets tailored to international standards. It will enable anyone, including security personnel, to identify journalists during any conflict. This measure should be spearheaded by the Ministry of Mass Media and press jackets should be provided only to journalists who have been issued the Media Accreditation Card issued by the Department of Government Information.
4) Awareness should be created among law enforcement officers from institutions such as the Police and the military, on new media trends in the media and a training workshop on media literacy should be conducted for them.