It was with great concern that the Public Media Alliance [PMA] learned this morning that an unruly crowd had surrounded the headquarters of long-time and respected PMA member organisation MTV/MBC networks in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Due to the actions of the crowd, including reports of explosions, MTV/MBC news staff were unable to leave the building and remained trapped inside until police dispersed the crowd.

The PMA is the largest global association of public media organisations, with a mandate from its international Board to support high standards of journalism and media freedom.

Informed democracies require free and independent media, including journalists who are able to report freely and hold those in power accountable. Journalists working for such media organisations must be able to go about their work without harassment from commercial or political interests.

The attack on the MTV/MBC headquarters followed soon after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe defeated a No-Confidence Motion brought against him by the Joint Opposition.

“Sri Lanka is recovering after a long civil war and years of political unrest, it is essential for the future peace of the country that the media is able to work unhindered”, said PMA CEO, Sally-Ann Wilson early this morning.

“The team at PMA will continue to monitor events and developments following the disappointing news we received early this morning. We hope our colleagues at MTV/MBC will be able to continue their work without fear or further pressure”.

Header Image: Sunset over Colombo. Credit: Dronepicr/Creative Commons