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Free Media Movement calls for collective social consciousness to fight COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT – Highlighting problematic reporting in Sri Lanka’s mainstream media as well as racially charged viral content on social media, the Free Media Movement (FMM) called for a collective social consciousness to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The media freedom watchdog invited all religious, national and political leaders, media institutions and journalists to intervene in this effort.

The full text of the FMM’s statement is as follows:

The Free Media Movement emphasizes that racial and religious extremism which surfaces in different facets is a severe challenge and a threat to the collective resolve at a time when a strong, cohesive social determination is mandatory in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.The racial and religious fanaticism that is being adversely reported in the mainstream media and social media can be observed.

The Free Media Movement states that in such cases the due justifiable legal process should be followed to prosecute the offenders without any consideration to their racial, religious or political backgrounds or affiliations.

The announcements issued by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan university medical faculty deans have addressed some of these issues.We cannot take the warnings lightly, that communities will be hard-pressed to withhold information due to the implied ideology, being reinforced through the increasingly frequent adverse statements promoting disunity and discord reported through social media and mainstream media.

Therefore, the Free Media Movement calls on all religious, national and political leaders, especially from media institutions and journalists, to intervene in building a collective social consciousness. That can collectively face up to the global pandemic, having subdued these adverse racial and religious prejudices that surface from time to time. (Colombo/April10/2020)

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