As attacks and harrassment of journalists in Sri Lanka ramps up, the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka met with Sri Lankan government officials, including Minister of Mass Media and former Sri Lankan government spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella, to discuss media freedom in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Glad to meet Hon. @Keheliya_R, Minister for Mass Media recently, with Mr. Wijeweera, Media Secretary and Mr. @NalakaKaluwewa, DG Government Info. Good discussion on #mediafreedom, tackling disinformation and stigma; all particularly relevant during #COVID19.”
Rambukwella is notorious for his blatant Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism. During last year’s presidential election period, he told media that Sri Lanka is “a Sinhala Buddhist country, and I don't think one should be ashamed to say that… accept it.”
In 2014 during his previous stint as minister for media, Rambukwella said: “The government is carefully monitoring Tamil media and journalists. We feel that they are a threat to the national defence, in which case we warn them."
Meanwhile, the threat to press freedom on the island has become ever more apparent since the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, two Tamil Guardian correspondents who went to collect information regarding illegal logging in the Murippu forest reserve in Mullaitivu, were brutally beaten by members of an organised criminal group.
See tweet here.