Free Media Movement of Sri Lanka has said, The precautionary letter issued by the Secretary of Health to officials working in the health departments is an attempt to conceal factual information related to the epidemic.
In its statement released, it is said that,
A threatening letter signed by the health secretary has been issued to all the health department workers stating that disciplinary action will be taken against all officials who ignore the mass media coverage rules.
The Free Media Movement condemns the violation of the Right to Information Act, which limits opportunities for the public to obtain factually relevant information on the contents of various sources as the Covid-19 epidemic intensifies.
It is noteworthy that through such warning activities, the authorities lose the right to express their views. This is seen as an act that restricts the right of the mass media to obtain information from various sources. It is also noteworthy that the trade union activities of civil servants and their right to unite are adversely affected.
The right to freedom of expression is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of Sri Lanka rather than the recognition founded in the Establishment Rules. Furthermore, the right to information is seen as a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution and it is noteworthy that a new policy perspective on information has been pursued through the Right to Information Act, which came into force in 2016.
Therefore, care should be taken to restructure the outdated Establishment Code and not to use it as a tool to suppress government officials from disclosing information found on behalf of the public by using the relevant Establishment Code directly.