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Media 'has a duty to build democracy'

Seminar hears of increasing challenges to the political reporter's role

Media 'has a duty to build democracy'
Journalist Sita Ranjani addressing the seminar
ucanews.com reporter, Colombo
Sri Lanka

May 4, 2011

Political reporters face increasing challenges in the country but have responsibility to help build democracy, a seminar to mark World Press Freedom Day was told.

The challenges must not stop honest reporting, said Gamini Viyangoda, a well-known political analyst and journalist.

"The role of the journalist is to provide informative reports to motivate reader to dialogue,” he said.

Hundreds of right activists, peace makers, clergy, editors and reporters joined the packed seminar, organized by Free Media Movement (FMM) in Colombo yesterday.

But one speaker said that the job of the political journalist was becoming harder.

“Journalists who write about democratic rights are being threatened," Lakshman Gunasekera, a senior journalist and president of the Sri Lanka chapter of the South Asian Free Media Association, said.

Attendees also remembered the 35 reporters, who were killed between 2004 and 2009. Many disappeared. Participants particularly honored journalist and lawyer Christian Lasantha Wicramatunga who was murdered for exposing corruption.

FMM also launched a book Martyrs of Freedom of Expression in Sri Lanka, in Tamil, Sinhalese and English and distributed it free of charge.

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