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Unity Govt committed to end impunity for crimes against journalists: Mangala

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Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Mangala Samaraweera has stated that the unity government is totally committed to end impunity for crimes against journalists, and to uphold the rights of journalists around the world who place themselves at risk every day, to give voice to the voiceless.

He also added that the government would work in collaboration with the international community, including UNESCO towards achieving this objective.

He was delivering an address at the opening ceremony of the UNESCO regional conference on "Reinforcing Regional Cooperation to Promote Freedom of Expression and the Rule of Law in Asia through Ending Impunity for Crimes against Journalists", held Monday in Colombo.

During his address, Minister Samaraweera said: "It is an occasion for us in Sri Lanka to recognize, that while we have succeeded to a large extent in creating the safe space required for freedom of expression, we must keep on working hard to sustain and safeguard this space, and that we still have a long way to go in terms of completing investigations into past crimes, including the murder of journalists in the past.

We recognize and acknowledge that justice is crucial and essential, because impunity will leave open the danger of the recurrence of the heinous crimes that occurred in the past. Therefore, this is an important occasion for us locally, to renew our commitment to justice, in memory of all the journalists who have been silenced, and in recognition of the importance of a free and independent media, for advancing peace, development, and good governance in our country.

The Seminar which brings together regional stakeholders, and focuses on areas such as the role of the judiciary, National Human Rights Commissions as well as civil society and media in the challenge of combating impunity for crimes against journalists in the region, will be an invaluable opportunity for sharing experiences and best practice in this important area."

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