Colombo Declaration on Media Freedom celebrates 20 years | Sunday Observer

Colombo Declaration on Media Freedom celebrates 20 years

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Lindsay Ross from the Commonwealth Media Trust at the 20th Anniversary of the Colombo Declaration on Media Freedom and Social Responsibility at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel   Pic: Hirantha Gunathilake
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Lindsay Ross from the Commonwealth Media Trust at the 20th Anniversary of the Colombo Declaration on Media Freedom and Social Responsibility at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel Pic: Hirantha Gunathilake

Year 2018 marks 20 years since the Colombo Declaration on Media Freedom was signed by the Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka, the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka and the Free Media Movement, in April 1998.

The Declaration was the result of years of efforts by Sri Lanka’s media fraternity, in the face of dire threats, including disappearances, attacks and the abuse of criminal defamation laws to suppress the free press. The Declaration was signed largely in the context of a campaign launched by the Editors’ Guild and other media associations to advocate for the repeal of Criminal Defamation laws.

The abolition of the laws relating to criminal defamation by a unanimous vote of Parliament in 2002 was an early result of this campaign. The establishment of the Sri Lanka Press Institute, the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka College of Journalism followed.

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Declaration, an international conference was organised by the Sri Lanka Press Institute, in partnership with UNESCO and the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

The symposium was officially opened by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday (27), and on Friday, the keynote address on the International Day for the Universal Access to Information was delivered by Speaker of Parliament, Karu Jayasuriya.

A host of foreign and local journalists and media practitioners participated. 

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