Media freedom | Sunday Observer

Media freedom

2 October, 2022

What is your opinion on media in this digitalized era? Two decades ago media covered only four media industries such as print media, broadcast media, cinema and music. Surprisingly, today we have new media including platforms like FB, YouTube and Twitter.

Freedom of the media is the fundamental right of various forms of media which ensures the democratic principle of publicity. First it should be noted that media freedom is associated with democracy. If the existing government takes measures at the expense of the media freedom, we cannot expect democracy. It is called autocracy.

To the best of my knowledge, we cannot find a universally recognized definition for media freedom. According to UNESCO, promoting the free flow of ideas by word and image is the backbone of the media freedom. However, it is evident that the main foundation for media freedom is the freedom of expression. It means that journalists are entitled to free speech. When studying in depth we can identify ten freedoms.

1. Freedom of thought

It is your right to hold a fact, viewpoint or a thought independently. It is considered to be one of the fundamental rights in the world.

2. Freedom of opinion

You can hold your own opinion with no interference according to the International Convention of Human Rights. Any act which violates your right is known as acts against media freedom based on freedom of opinion.

3. Freedom of speech

You are entitled to the right to make any form of speech. It can be oral or written. However, It is sad to note that an unidentified group of thugs had unleashed violence on a blogger named Dilshan Nirosh Wijeratna and his wife Nirmanee Sulakkana Wijeratna regarding blog articles and social media posts against the Rajapakses. It is sad to note that Dilshan had received a severe beating at the GotaGoGama on the 9th of May. Currently, the couple is staying in France in order to ensure their safety.

4. Freedom of expression

It includes any expression such as paintings, fiction, cartoons, films, dramas, associations and petitions. Article 14 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka guarantees the freedom of expression. However, bloodshed past incidents about our well known journalists like Lasantha and Ekneligoda would make us rethink of the existence of our freedom of expression. Ekneligoda who came to be known as a cartoonist was reported missing on January 24, 2010.

5. Right to the freedom of information

It is your right to receive, seek and impart information. Our country recognizes this right under Article 14 of the Constitution. We should have a right to gain accurate and partial information.

6. Freedom of recording

You might wander the meaning of recording in media. Capturing records in any form such as video, photographs, voice recordings and text is freedom of recording.

7. Freedom of publication

This is also known as the freedom of publication. You should have a right to publish books, magazines and any kind of publication independently. In May 2020 a Muslim poet Ahnaf Jazeem was detained on terrorism charges after the CID mentioned that his poetry collection contained extremist ideas.

8. Freedom of the press

Freedom of the press encourages you to starts your own newspaper with no interference. In addition, we can mention freedom of the Internet and freedom of broadcasting. However when awakening our memories we can remember the gloomy era we passed. M. Nimala Rajan was killed in 2000. Ralangee Selvaraja was killed in 2005. K. Prasanna received death threats. Unfortunately, there are many journalists and bloggers who are not among the living because blood sucking politicians have snatched their lives.