( March 2, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) In a statement issued by the National Media Forum (NMF) in Colombo vehemently condemns the arbitrarily termination of the service of the editor of the Irudina newspaper Wimalanath Weerarathne.
“The publishers of the Irudina, the Leader Holdings (Pvt) Ltd has terminated the service of Irudina editor Wimalanath Weerarathne with effect from 28 February. However, the company has not given any reason for sacking the editor or informed him in advance or has not carried out any investigation against him for any wrong doing of the editor,” the statement noted.
The statement further reads as following;
“Therefore this arbitrary sacking of the editor is violating the labour laws of the country and therefore illegal and unfair. It is also reported that the publisher, Leader Holdings (Pvt) Ltd has not paid January salaries of the employees and defaulted the payment of EPF and ETF contributions of the employees. Therefore it is clear that the company has been violating the labour laws of the country. NMF has doubts on how does a company which cannot even ensure the basic rights of its employees carry out a business like publishing a newspaper that has a serious social responsibility.”
“This is not the first instance that media owners violate the rights of the journalists and their employees. There are many media companies that have banned their journalists joining organisations of journalists or media movements. NMF will intervene to ensure basic labour rights and democratic rights of the all journalists and media workers and struggle against media companies that cannot recognized the fundamentals of the business that they are engaged in.”
“Journalists and the media workers are toiling for the welfare, justice and democracy of the people but there is no voice for their grievances. NMF urge all journalists and media workers to join hands with NMF to face these common issues at their working places and political and other issues in carrying out their duties and to face common issues and challenges.”
“NMF urges authorities of the Leader Holdings (Pvt) Ltd to reinstate the service of Irudina editor Wimalanath Weerarathne and stop the suppression of the workers with immediate effect.”