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18th Amendment move reminds of Emergency Bill: Media movements

[TamilNet, Thursday, 2 September 2010 15:53 No Comment]

Seven media associations in South have jointly opposed the proposed 18th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, describing the move as violating the freedom of expression on the part of the people. The proposals have not been discussed among the masses and it is a dangerous trend to make such amendments in the form of an Emergency Bill, said the joint statement issued by the movements. When the country requires a new Constitution to address the challenges faced by it, the amendments which further concentrate power seriously around one person, dismantling checks and balances on that rule taking an individual nature, would further establish this dangerous trend, the statement said.

Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA), Free Media Movement (FMM), South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMMF), Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA), Journalists against Suppression (JAS) and Federation of Media Employees Trade Union (FMETU) were the organisations that have come together in a statement condemning the move by Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Full text of the statement follows:

Media Organizations’ Oppose 18th Amendment to the Constitution as an Emergency Bill

The Alliance of Media expressed its deep concern over the changes that are to be made to the Constitution as the 18th Amendments to the Constitution, violating the freedom of expression on the part of the people and disregarding all the democratic norms.

The accepted norm of bringing up amendments to the Constitution is to make such amendments after being discussed among the masses and arrived at consensus on them. But it is a dangerous trend to make such amendments in the form of an Emergency Bill violating that cardinal principle.

When the country requires a new Constitution to address the challenges faces the nation, the amendments which further concentrate power seriously around one person and dismantling checks and balances on that rule taking an individual nature, would further establish this dangerous trend.

The Alliance of Media urges the masses to seriously consider the proposals for amendments and to assess realistically the harm that they might cause to democracy, good governance and independence of government’s service. It also emphasis to rally against these undemocratic proposals made without peoples’ consent.

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