Document and Revive Investigations on Forgotten and Sidelined Cases of Crimes against Journalists in Sri Lanka


Interview with Kumar Lopez, Executive Director of the Sri Lanka Press Institute

What is the mission of the Organization you are working for?

Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) is operating on the principles of the Colombo Declaration on Media Freedom and Social Responsibility of 1998As such, SLPI and its constituents are committed to becoming the lead body representing the media fraternity, journalists of print and electronic media and to become a catalyst for media representation and development in the region. SLPI operates in such a way that it acts as a focal point for all media personnel to interact, and make joint representation where necessary, to lobby in the interest of furthering professionalism in journalism and promoting media freedom.

The mission of the organization is to create and nurture an informed and discerning public that is committed to democratic ideals, through the development of a competent, professional, independent and accountable media.

What will you do with the grant awarded by the Global Media Defence Fund?

The grant awarded by the Global Media Defense fund supports SLPI in documenting cases of crimes against journalists in the form of in-depth research that will trace the events and incidents recorded in Sri Lanka for the past 3 decades (1990-2020). Given that there is a high level of violence and impunity with regard to crimes against journalists in Sri Lanka, the research will assist in understanding the patterns of attacks against journalists and what sort of journalists have been targeted in the past. The findings of the research will be shared with relevant authorities/stakeholders to prompt policy-level solutions to address pending cases and contribute to the reduction of impunity for crimes against journalists. 

What will be the impact of this action?

Justice for a significant number of crimes against journalists that are forgotten/ sidelined will be brought into highlight leading to remedial plans to address the status of media freedom.

Increased awareness of the status of media freedom in the country shared with the public upon reflection on the events of the past decade.

Policy level redressal of the issues found out by the research to create a safe, democratic and just environment for the journalists. 

Provide an indication to civil society and activists of the need for the reduction of impunity against journalists.

Any suggestions/recommendations you would like to make to UNESCO as administrator of this Fund and/or to its donors?

Support to engage more on policy-level interventions in the region to help reduce impunity at a regional level, as well as opening up opportunities for like-minded organizations in the region to come together in annual conferences on the safety of journalists/ crimes against journalists.